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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, today we present a bit of Irish-related IP news.
Craig Venter, a scientist renowned for his research in synthetic life, made headlines by creating self-replicating synthetic bacteria containing a custom-made genome designed entirely from scratch. To make sure the bacteria created were the result of the custom genome and not an assembly of naturally occuring bacterial DNA, Venter and his team encoded particular segments of text into the DNA sequence to act as watermarks. Included in one of these watermarks was a quote from James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man.
Last week, Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) was granted a patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,893,315) for its “single-blastomere” technology that provides a non-destructive method for deriving human embryonic stem cells (hESC). In ACT’s technique, a single cell is biopsied from an embryo and cultured to produce a hESC line. The process does not destroy the embryo or impair the embryo’s subsequent development, hence the technique has been touted as “embryo-safe.” This technique is similar to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) that has been used in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for many years.