Maine Patent of the Month – January 2022

EnviroLogix, Inc. has made a name for themselves as a global leader in the development of rapid GMO and mycotoxin detection technologies. One of their most notable technologies is the first ever commercialized on-site DNA detection method – DNAble. This technology is a simple, rapid nucleic acid amplification method which is similar to PCR but works in a fraction of the time.

Nucleic acid amplification technologies help us by providing the tools needed to understand complex biological processes including with applications in forensic criminology analysis, disease association studies and more. Quantification has always been problematic in the world of nucleic acid amplification. Contaminants or background products can interfere with the process and make it difficult to clearly identify the desired nucleic acids. Recently, the company has developed a method that improves and simplifies quantification and detection of target oligonucleotides in a sample.

Their method works with those amplified in a NEAR reaction – or Nicking Enzyme Amplification Reactions. NEAR reactions have previously been inadequate. The design of NEAR amplification assays is limited to very short regions within the target nucleic acid that have at least one naturally occurring nicking enzyme recognition site in close proximity. EnviroLogix method uses primer-templates with longer target specific regions. These are capable of strand invasion between 50°C and 60°C without assistance from strand displacement synthesis. These primer-templates do have one disadvantage – they increase the real estate available to form nonspecific DNA hybrids. This is a problem when trying to amplify a specific sequence. EnviroLogix has overcome this by extending the placement of a certain set of five consecutive modified nucleotides to cover the entire target specific region. 

The introduction of these primer-templates overcomes the limitations seen in NEAR reactions, making it possible to quantify detection of a target oligonucleotide in a sample in real time.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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