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The test tube has remained the same shape for centuries. Now, researchers at Norwind-Cortez, an Ypsilanti, Mich.-based biotechnology firm, have patented a version with a shape they believe improves upon the familiar form.

The new tube looks like its traditional counterpart with a bend at the open end. This and a flat side allow the vessel to rest horizontally without a rack. According to Norwind-Cortez president Milt Jackson, the bent tube reduces the risk of contamination, allows for more contact with air for cell culture experiments, and heats and cools more quickly. Licensing negotiations are under way.

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