Courtesy of Gary Churchill
 THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE FILTERED: At left is a poor quality microarray with problems due to background contamination. At right is a good quality microarray with well defined spots and low background intensity. Data preprocessing methods can normalize and filter data derived from such images, which may make it impossible to detect problems apparent in the raw image data.

Since their rise to fame in the mid 1990s, microarrays have been both lauded and criticized. Enthusiasm about this technology, which many researchers say has forever fundamentally changed biology, is tempered by the recognition that the microarray, like any tool or technology, has its limits. Results are often hard to reproduce and interpret, and the data-driven approach encouraged by the technology can make microarray studies little more than what critics call "fishing expeditions."

Microarrays simultaneously can measure expression for hundreds, even thousands of genes, and...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?