Patent covers prehistoric and aged DNA technology - could solve ancient puzzles, criminal cold cases.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO or USPTO) is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides patent protection to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property issued Patent 6,872,552, "A Method of Reconstituting Nucleic Acid Molecules" to Burt D. Ensley, Ph.D, Chairman of MatrixDesign, and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of DermaPlus, Inc. (New York, NY). The patent covers methods for recovering and reconstituting genes from "degraded" DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. samples, and could allow scientists to reassemble everything from prehistoric, extinct animals to unsolved crime scenes.
"This discovery, when properly applied by our scientists, brings us closer to our goal of reconstructing genetic history. We now have the picture on the outside of the puzzle box, and by stringing together the pieces of aged DNA, we should be able to reconstruct genes from animals such as the wooly mammoth, giant sloth, saber-toothed cat The terms saber-toothed cat and saber-toothed tiger describe numerous species, mainly in the families Felidae (subfamily Machairodontinae), Hyaenodontidae, and Nimravidae, but also including two marsupial families, that lived during various parts of the Cenozoic and evolved or even from tissues of the Tyrannosaurus Tyrannosaurus (tīrăn'ōsôr`əs, tĭr–) [Gr.,=tyrant lizard], member of a family, Tyrannosauridae, of bipedal carnivorous saurischian dinosaurs characterized by having strong hind limbs, a muscular tail, and short rex that was described last Friday in the journal Science," says Dr. Ensley. Brenda Jarrell, Ph.D., Patent Attorney and Partner at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart remarks, "This is the first patent of its kind to be allowed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office"
Dr. Ensley believes that one of the first applications could be in forensic science, where time, the traumatic circumstances of a crime scene or the environment has caused DNA samples to become degraded. "We hope this gives criminal investigators another tool to re-open cold cases or revisit crime scenes, stringing together strands of detached DNA into a genetic trail that could solve a crime or exonerate the falsely accused," says Dr. Ensley.
This patent is part of a scientific progression that began in 1989 when DNA was recovered from 12 samples of ancient organic remains, ranging in age from 4 to 13,000 years. The remains included several Egyptian mummies and two extinct species -- the marsupial marsupial (märs`pēəl), member of the order Marsupialia, or pouched mammals. wolf and ground sloth. Plant DNA up to 400,000 years old, and DNA from the extinct mammoth and steppe steppe (stĕp), temperate grassland of Eurasia, consisting of level, generally treeless plains. It extends over the lower regions of the Danube and in a broad belt over S and SE European and Central Asian Russia, stretching E to the Altai and S to bison have been recovered from Siberian sediments. In 1997, Patent 5,593,883 was granted to Ambergene Corporation for the recovery of live ancient bacteria and fungi fossilized fos·sil·ize
v. fos·sil·ized, fos·sil·iz·ing, fos·sil·iz·es
1. To convert into a fossil.
2. To make outmoded or inflexible with time; antiquate.
v.intr. in amber.
By reconstituting nucleic acid molecules that have been degraded but still contain useful information scientists at MatrixDesign are able to create a template from which to multiply the genetic material. That process is repeated until the genetic material is substantially representative -- at microscopic levels -- of the species from which the degraded sample was obtained.
Dr. Ensley and his team hope to apply this new technology to products they will make available later this year. "We don't plan to turn house cats into saber tooth cats or create a Jurassic Theme Park anytime soon. But we do think this breakthrough has many applications yet to be discovered and we look forward to working with our colleagues to thoroughly examine all the possibilities," says Dr. Ensley.
Dr. Ensley is the Chairman of MatrixDesign, a biotechnology company that analyzes the genomics of human tissues and uses the information to produce high performance wound healing and tissue regeneration products, and the CEO of DermaPlus, a science-based skin care company. Dr. Ensley is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the University of Arizona (body, education) University of Arizona - The University was founded in 1885 as a Land Grant institution with a three-fold mission of teaching, research and public service. .