Most of the attention on gene expression analysis and discovery tools has centered on microarray technology, but alternative methods, including SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression)1 and direct cDNA sequencing, do exist. Another such technique is Hayward, Calif.-based Lynx Therapeutics' Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS™) technology, a method for counting millions of mRNA molecules from a given sample. Like SAGE, MPSS quantifies tagged cDNA fragments; but whereas SAGE uses conventional cloning and sequencing procedures, MPSS involves a set of new technologies for cloning and sequencing a 16-20 base signature sequence from more than a million molecules simultaneously.

Norman Russell, Lynx president and CEO, compares gene expression analysis to a puzzle, noting that a complete picture is not possible unless every piece is present: "From a systems biology standpoint, what you need to do is to start with a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces," he says. With...

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