The recent microarray explosion has been a benefit to gene expression researchers, but scientists who require custom arrays may find currently available technologies too expensive and time-consuming for their needs. To address these difficulties, Mukilteo, Wash.-based CombiMatrix Corp. has developed a flexible biological array processor system that can produce cost-effective, custom biochip oligonucleotide arrays more quickly than conventional arraying technologies.

Chief technology officer Don Montgomery explains that CombiMatrix's system synthesizes oligonucleotide probes directly on the chip through electrochemical methods. As a result, no mechanical parts are necessary, and the synthesis and analysis equipment is smaller than a laptop computer. In addition, while other manufacturers of microarrays produce DNA probes in a monolayer, CombiMatrix manufactures DNA chips in a porous, three-dimensional layer that sits on top of the semiconductor chip, thus allowing more capture probes to be concentrated in a given location and producing a stronger assay signal. According to Montgomery,...

Interested in reading more?

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?