MPEP 2421.02
Summary of the Requirements of the Sequence Rules

Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2022, Last Revised in February 2023

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2421.02    Summary of the Requirements of the Sequence Rules [R-07.2022]

[Editor Note: This section is not applicable to applications filed on or after July 1, 2022, having disclosures of nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences as defined in 37 CFR 1.831(b). See MPEP §§ 2412-2419 for guidance on WIPO ST.26 requirements for applications filed on or after July 1, 2022.]

The sequence rules define a set of symbols and procedures that are both mandatory and the only way that an applicant is permitted to describe information in the "Sequence Listing" about a nucleotide or amino acid sequence that falls within the definitions used in the rules. Thus, 37 CFR 1.821 defines a "sequence" and a "Sequence Listing" for the purpose of the rules, the requirements for specific symbols, and formats for the "Sequence Listing", the requirement for a computer readable form (CRF) of the "Sequence Listing" and the deadlines for complying with the requirements. 37 CFR 1.822 to 37 CFR 1.824 set forth detailed descriptions of the requirements that are mandatory for the presentation of sequence data, and 37 CFR 1.825 sets forth procedures that are available to an applicant in the event that amendments to add or replace a "Sequence Listing", including any necessary CRF of the "Sequence Listing" become necessary.

The sequence rules embrace all unbranched nucleotide sequences with ten or more nucleotide bases and all unbranched, non-D amino acid sequences with four or more amino acids, provided that there are at least 10 "specifically defined" nucleotides or 4 "specifically defined" nucleotides or amino acids. The rules apply to all sequences in a given application, whether claimed or not. All such sequences are relevant for the purposes of building a comprehensive database and properly assessing prior art. It is therefore essential that all sequences, whether only disclosed or also claimed, be included in the database.