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IP Watch: Becton Dickinson, Roche, USDHHS, Gene Pool, and GeneNews Win US Patents

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Gene Pool has been awarded US Patent No. 8,114,962, "Method of detection of nucleic acids with a specific sequence composition."

Susan Weininger and Arthur Weininger are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes a method for detecting and localizing specific nucleic acid sequences in a sample with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. The method and compositions involve the use of probe nucleic acids, the production of nucleic acid binding regions, and the use of nucleic acid target-binding assemblies to detect and localize specific target nucleic acids, even in the presence of nucleic acids with similar sequences. In particular, the patent presents methods and compositions for detecting HIV and HPV nucleic acid in samples. The methods and compositions find use in diagnosing disease, genetic monitoring, forensics, and analyzing nucleic acid mixtures. Some of the compositions are useful in preventing or treating pathogenic conditions.


The US Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded US Patent No. 8,114,653, "Thermostable Y-family polymerases and chimeras."

Roger Woodgate, John McDonald, and Wei Yang are named as inventors on the patent.

Relates to thermostable Y-family polymerases, in particular several novel Y-family polymerases and chimeras made therefrom. The patent also relates to methods of identifying other Y-family polymerases, methods of generating other chimeric Y-family polymerases, methods of amplifying ancient or damaged DNA, and methods of incorporating fluorescent or modified nucleotides into a DNA molecule.


GeneOhm Sciences (Becton Dickinson) has been awarded US Patent No. 8,114,601, "Highly conserved genes and their use to generate probes and primers for detection of microorganisms."

Michel Bergeron, Maurice Boissinot, Ann Huletsky, Christian Menard, Marc Ouellette, Francois Picard, and Paul Roy are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes the use of four highly conserved genes — encoding translation elongation factor Tu, translation elongation factor G, the catalytic subunit of proton-translocating ATPase, and the RecA recombinase — to generate species-specific, genus-specific, family-specific, group-specific, and universal nucleic acid probes and amplification primers to rapidly detect and identify algal, archaeal, bacterial, fungal, and parasitical pathogens from clinical specimens for diagnosis. The patent also describes the detection of associated antimicrobial resistance and toxin genes.


GeneNews has been awarded US Patent No. 8,114,597, "Method of profiling gene expression in a subject undergoing a treatment."

Choong-Chin Liew is named as the inventor on the patent.

Relates to the detection and measurement of gene transcripts in blood. More specifically, the patent describes performing reverse transcriptase PCR analysis on a drop of blood to detect, diagnose, and monitor diseases using tissue-specific primers. The patent also describes methods by which delineation of the sequence and/or quantitation of the expression levels of disease-associated genes allows for an immediate and accurate diagnostic or prognostic test for disease, or for assessing the effect of a particular treatment regimen.


Roche Molecular Systems has been awarded US Patent No. 8,114,595, "Light emission modifiers and their uses in nucleic acid detection, amplification, and analysis."

Amar Gupta and Stephen Will are named as inventors on the patent.

Relates to methods and reagents for modifying the emission of light from labeled nucleic acids for the purpose of real-time detection, analysis, and quantitation of nucleic acid sequences, e.g., using singly labeled probes. These methods and reagents exploit advantageous properties of thiazine dyes and diazine dyes. Furthermore, the patent describes the use of these light emission modifiers in background reduction, nucleic acid duplex stabilization, and other applications; as well as related kits, reaction mixtures, and integrated systems.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.