Patent awarded for a method to establish genetic markers

December 19, 2001

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 19, 2001 - Researchers at Technion University in Haifa, Israel, and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., have been awarded a patent for developing a novel way to establish genetic markers for bacteria such as E. coli ("Abundant, well distributed and hyperpolymorphic simple sequence repeats in prokaryote genomes and use of same for prokaryote classification and typing," # 6,322,985).

"The research will improve our ability to detect and identify bacteria such as E. coli that has tainted food or entered a surface water, and thereby improves the sensitivity and speed of detection," says Eric Hallerman, associate professor in fisheries and wildlife sciences at Virginia Tech. "This will help to determine whether E. coli in a stream came from cattle, chickens, humans, or wildlife, and enable water pollution control authorities to target their actions where it will make a difference."

This research was the result of Hallerman's work while on sabbatical in Israel. His co-patent holders are Yechezkel Kashi, Riva Gur-Arie, Cyril Cohen, Yuval Eitan, and Leora Shelef of Technion University.

Last year, Hallerman was appointed to the National Research Council's Standing Committee on Biotechnology, Food and Fiber Production, and the Environment. The committee maintains surveillance of scientific issues in the areas of plant, animal, and microorganism biotechnology as they apply to public policy, food and fiber production, agriculture, and the environment. It identifies emerging issues and sets priorities for studies and other activities to be undertaken by the national academies, and provides analyses of products of biotechnology.
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Hallerman's research interests include genetics of fish and wildlife species, genetic improvement of aquaculture stocks, aquaculture biotechnology and related public policy, and genetics education.

The patent was assigned to Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd. of Haifa.

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Contact Dr. Hallerman at ehallerm@vt.edu or 540-231-3257 http://www.cnr.vt.edu/fisheries/HALLERMAN.htm

PR CONTACT Lynn Davis540-231-6157 davisl@vt.edu

The patent abstract reads :A method is provided for classifying or typing a prokaryote to a class or a type. The method is effected by characterizing at least one polymorphic simple sequence repeat locus in a genome of the prokaryote and, based on a characterization of the polymorphic simple sequence repeat, classifying or typing the prokaryote to a class or a type. Compounds and articles of manufacture are provided for effecting the method.

Virginia Tech

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