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IP Watch: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: Jun 14, 2011


The Cornell Research Foundation has been awarded US Patent No. 7,960,159, "Detection of nucleic acid differences using combined endonuclease cleavage and ligation reactions."

Francis Barany, Weiguo Cao, Jianmin Huang, and Jing Lu are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes a method for detecting DNA sequence differences including single nucleotide mutations or polymorphisms, one or more nucleotide insertions, and one or more nucleotide deletions. Labeled heteroduplex PCR fragments containing base mismatches are prepared. Endonuclease cleaves the fragments both at the position containing the variation (one or more mismatched bases); and, to a lesser extent, at non-variant (perfectly matched) positions. Ligation of the cleavage products with a DNA ligase corrects non-variant cleavages and thus substantially reduces background. This is then followed by a detection step in which the reaction products are detected, and the position of the sequence variations are determined.

Agilent Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 7,960,157, "DNA polymerase blends and uses thereof."

Michael Borns is named as inventor on the patent.

Discloses novel blends of chimeric and non-chimeric thermostable DNA polymerases for use in PCR, DNA sequencing, and mutagenesis protocols. The invention enables PCR reactions with shorter extension times that will facilitate PCR amplification of genomic DNA templates and improve the efficacy of long PCR, the patent's abstract states.

The Finnish Defence Forces has been awarded US Patent No. 7,960,106, "Diagnostic method and products useful therein."

Simo Nikkari, Tuukka Skottman, and Mikael Skurnik are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes a method for simultaneously detecting and identifying Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis in a single real-time PCR assay using species-specific primers and Taqman MGB probes. Also describes a kit for diagnosing bacterial bioterrorism agents; and an infection-free control plasmid to verify the result of the real-time PCR analysis method.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.