Patent awarded for a method to establish genetic markers

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 Councils 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.


Contact: Eric Hallerman
Virginia Tech

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