Invitrogen, Genispshere in epigenetic licence deal

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CARLSBAD, Calif.—Invitrogen Corp. recently announced a licencing agreement by which it will become the exclusive provider of fluorescent microRNA microarray labeling kits using Genisphere Inc.'s 3DNA dendrimer signal amplification technology. This technology, combined with Invitrogen's Alexa Fluor fluorescent dyes, has been commercialized in the new NCode Rapid miRNA Labeling System, available from Invitrogen.

Genisphere's 3DNA dendrimer technology—which won Frost and Sullivan's 2005 Technology Innovation Award for nucleic acid labeling products for microarrays—is based on highly branched DNA structures serving as scaffolds for multitudes of fluorescent dyes. Using the 3DNA dendrimer technology, the NCode Rapid miRNA Labeling System provides a fast and reproducible system to directly label microRNAs with fluorescent tags.

"When working with small nucleic acids, sensitivity is often limited. Our development of a simple process to efficiently couple microRNAs directly to 3DNA dendrimers is a significant improvement over past methods," says Dr. Robert Getts, research and development director at Genisphere. "Combining Genisphere's unique labeling approach with Invitrogen's microRNA array content will provide researchers with a powerful solution in their investigation of the biology of microRNAs."

Using the system, researchers can start with a total RNA sample as little as 250 nanograms,  which eliminates the need to purify the miRNA sample prior to labeling. Accoring to the companies, the test reliably detects 2 to 10 copies of miRNA per cell.

"Our new kit accelerates the discovery of novel microRNA biomarkers by reducing the amount of time scientists must invest to detect microRNAs," says Peter Welch, director of research and development, Gene Expression Profiling at Invitrogen. "In addition, we have increased sensitivity compared to alternative technologies, which can preserve precious samples. Because microRNAs play a significant role in cancer and in the differentiation of stem cells, discoveries resulting from experiments in those areas could potentially expedite the diagnostics applications of microRNA biomarkers in disease."

"Epigenetic mechanisms, including the activity of microRNAs, play a critical role in many key areas of biological research," adds Amy Butler, vice president of Gene Expression Profiling for Invitrogen. "This addition to our epigenetic product portfolio will help scientists more easily advance their research in this rapidly evolving field."

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