The patent's assignee for patent application serial number 821287 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "As the volume of genetic sequence information available increases, genomics research and subsequent drug design efforts increase as well. A number of institutions are actively mining the available genetic sequence information to identify correlations between genes, gene expression and phenotypes (e.g., presence and/or identity of pathogens in sample, disease states, metabolic responses, and the like).
"Despite substantial efforts made, existing approaches for analyzing nucleic acid molecules still suffer from inaccuracies and/or inefficiencies and may not provide sufficient information that is accurate, fast, and cost effective.
"Thus, the art is in need of improved methodologies."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention relates to compositions and methods for nucleic acid based diagnostic assays. In particular, the present invention provides primers for symmetric PCR, asymmetric PCR and other amplification modalities. In some embodiments, the present invention provides multiple primers for amplification of related nucleic acid targets in a single reaction.
"Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for identifying the presence of any (e.g., one or more, two or more, etc.) of a plurality of related target sequences in a sample, comprising: contacting a sample comprising a target sequence that is one of a plurality of related target sequences, wherein the target sequences differ by at least one nucleotide, with a pair of primers for amplifying one or more of the targets, wherein at least one of the primers contacts positions of the targets or their complements that differ by at least one nucleotide in those positions; and performing an amplification reaction under conditions such that the target sequence is amplified (e.g., in a single reaction); and detecting an amplification product. In some embodiments, the at least one primer is a thermodynamic consensus primer. In some embodiments, the plurality of related targets vary at 4 or more nucleotide position in the region contacted by the thermodynamic consensuses primer. In some embodiments, the method is symmetric PCR. In some embodiments (e.g., asymmetric PCR embodiments), the concentration of the primers is at a ratio of at least 5 to 1. In some embodiments, the single primer that hybridizes to the plurality of related target sequences is at a higher concentration than the two or more primer sequences that hybridize to different members of the plurality of related target sequences. In some embodiments, both the first primers and the second primers comprise multiple primers. In some embodiments, the amplification reaction is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (e.g., symmetric PCR or asymmetric PCR such as LATE-PCR). In some embodiments, the second primer comprises a limiting primer and the first primer comprises an excess primer, wherein the excess primer is added to the combined sample at a concentration at least five-times that of the limiting primer. In some embodiments, the initial melting temperature of the limiting primer with respect to the target nucleic is higher than or equal to the initial melting temperature of the excess primer with respect to the target nucleic acid. In some embodiments, the plurality of related targets are variants of genes, homologs of genes, orthologs of genes, or subtypes of genes. Exemplary genes include, but are not limited to genes from pathogenic agents (e.g., viruses, bacteria, or fungi), animals (e.g., humans, livestock, or companion animals), or other organisms of interest.
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