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IP Watch: New England Biolabs, DNA Genotek, Roche, Baxter Int'l and Others Win US Patents

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The National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences and the Incorporated Administrative Agency Fertilizer and Feed Inspection Services of Japan have been awarded US Patent No. 8,158,772, "Oligonucleotide sequences that identify species of animal."

Toyoko Kusama, Koichi Kadowaki, and Tetsuya Nomura are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes methods for identifying animal species involving amplifying a DNA fragment by PCR using as a template a DNA in a sample; using as a primer pair animal-specific DNA sequences; and detecting the amplified DNA fragment. The animal-specific DNA sequences are derived from an ATP synthase subunit 8 gene or a region proximal thereto of a mitochondrial genome.


New England Biolabs has been awarded US Patent No. 8,158,388, "Repair of nucleic acids for improved amplification."

Thomas Evans, Lixin Chen, Chudi Guan, Rebecca Kucera, Barton Slatko, and Romualdas Vaisvila are named as inventors on the patent.

Provides methods and compositions for repairing a polynucleotide so that it can be copied with improved fidelity and/or yield in, for example, an amplification reaction. This involves the use of a reaction mixture that includes a ligase and a cofactor selected from NAD+ or ATP and incubating the polynucleotide with the reaction mixture in the absence of endonuclease VI. The reaction mixture may further contain an AP endonuclease and apolymerase. If used, these enzymes may be selected according to their ability to withstand high temperatures. For example, the reaction mixture may be used prior to a polynucleotide synthesis reaction in which case enzymes that are not thermophilic may be used. According to the inventors, the repair reaction is not time sensitive with respect to seconds, minutes, or hours of incubation in the enzyme mixture in as much as the repair is effected rapidly and prolonged incubation is not generally adverse.


DNA Genotek has been awarded US Patent No. 8,158,357, "Compositions and method for storage of nucleic acid from bodily fluids."

Chaim Birnboim, Adele Jackson, Rafal Iwasiow, Joanne Chartier, and Paul Lem are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes an aqueous composition comprising a denaturing agent, a chelator, a buffering agent, and a protease for extracting nucleic acid from a sample of bodily fluid, such as saliva, such that the extracted nucleic acid is stable for at least 14 days at room temperature and can be directly utilized in an amplification reaction without further processing. In particular, said composition comprises SDS, cyclohexanediamine tetraacetate, Tris-HCl, and proteinase K. The patent also provides a method and kit comprising said composition for amplifying DNA directly from a bodily fluid.


Roche Molecular Systems has been awarded US Patent No. 8,158,349, "Method and device for purifying nucleic acids."

Dirk Block, Ruediger Haenel, Joerg Kleiber, Manuela Poignee-Heger, Thomas Walter, and Ralf Zielenski are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses a method and device for isolating and purifying nucleic acids from a sample.


Baxter International has been awarded US Patent No. 8,158,341, "Efficient algorithm for PCR testing of blood samples."

Lorraine Peddada, Charles Heldebrant, Andrew Conrad, and Peter Schmid are named as inventors on the patent.

Provides a method for identifying viral positive biological fluid donations in the fewest number of test cycles. The method involves providing biological fluid donations and defining an n-dimensional matrix comprising a multiplicity of elements, each element being identified by a matrix notation comprising an index for each dimension of the array. Samples are taken from each fluid donation and mapped to a matrix element with each sample identified by its corresponding element's notation; n aliquots being taken from each sample and subpools formed from the aliquots with each subpool containing an aliquot from all samples mapped to elements in which one of the dimensional indices is fixed. Subpools are tested for viral indication, and the dimensional index of each subpool that returns a positive viral indication is determined. The dimensional indices are combined to identify a subset of matrix elements that contain a viral positive sample.

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.