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IP Watch: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: Nov 2, 2010

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Avacta Group has been awarded US Patent 7,824,890, "Isothermal amplification of nucleic acids."

Mark Jay Hoser and Christian Kurtis are named as inventors on the patent.

The patent describes a process of amplifying a nucleic acid template that is "dependent on partial destruction of primer molecules which have extended onto the template molecule followed by strand invasion of the partially destroyed primer template by a replacement primer." The destruction of the primer molecule may be performed by either endonuclease or exonuclease digestion, the patent's abstract states. Signal generation from the amplified products may be obtained by the use of adaptors capable of binding probe molecules as well as the amplified product.


Johns Hopkins University has been awarded US Patent 7,824,889, "Digital amplification."

Bert Vogelstein and Kenneth Kinzler are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes a method that transforms "the exponential, analog nature of the polymerase chain reaction … into a linear, digital signal." According to the patent's abstract, single molecules can be isolated by dilution and individually amplified. Next, each product is separately analyzed for the presence of pre-defined mutations. "The process provides a reliable and quantitative measure of the proportion of variant sequences within a DNA sample," the patent's abstract states.


Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has been awarded US Patent 7,824,886, "DNA replication factors."

Ikuo Matsui and Yuji Urushibata are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses a DNA polymerase reaction system that provides "high DNA polymerase activity even at a high temperature and at a high salt concentration," according to the patent's absract. The system includes a DNA polymerase from Pyrococcus horikoshii, a hyperthermophilic archaeon; a clamp; and a clamp loader without intein sequence.


Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University has been awarded US Patent 7,824,861, "Method for quantitative analysis of transcripts with nucleotide polymorphism at specific site."

Wei-Yuan Chow is the sole inventor listed on the patent.

The patent describes a quantitative method for assaying the expression ratio between alleles that differ by a SNP. According to the patent's claims, the method comprises first designing an allele-specific primer, then performing a PCR reaction with a universal primer set that anneals to both alleles to obtain a total molecule number, then performing the PCR reaction with an allele-specific primer and one of the universal primers to obtain the molecule number of one allele, and then calculating the expression frequency of one allele by the molecular number of one allele divided by the total molecular number.


Cytyc has been awarded US Patent 7,824,859, "Methods for detection of a target nucleic acid by forming a cleavage structure using an RNA polymerase."

Joseph Sorge is the sole inventor listed on the patent.

Protects compositions and methods for generating a signal "indicative of the presence of a target nucleic acid in a sample, where the compositions and methods include an RNA polymerase, a FEN nuclease, and a probe."


Quest Diagnostics Investments has been awarded US Patent 7,824,858, "Assay for Mycobacterium avium/intracellulare nucleic acid."

Edgar Ong and Maurice Exner are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes a method for determining the presence of Mycobacterium avium complex nucleic acids in a biological sample. "In particular, the mig gene of M. avium and the DT1 gene of M. intracellulare are detected, preferably following amplification," the patent abstract states. The patent also covers "oligonucleotides that can be used as primers to amplify target genes such as mig and DT1 genes and as probes as well as kits containing the oligonucleotides."


The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

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In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.