© 2004 Oxford University Press

The PicoArray reactor for oligo synthesis consists of two layers – annealed silicon and glass, with reaction chambers etched on silicon and aligned in parallel. The device contains more than 3,600 individual reaction chambers.

DNA oligonucleotides are pretty inexpensive these days. With synthesis costing perhaps $0.11 per base, researchers rarely think twice before ordering a few 30-mer PCR primers. But what if your goal is the synthesis of an entire gene, operon, or even genome? Researchers typically have addressed this problem by ordering a series of overlapping oligonucleotides, annealing them, and then producing their desired product via ligation and/or PCR.

George Church and colleagues at Harvard Medical School, Atactic Technologies, and the Universities of Houston and Michigan, have developed a new, massively parallel, chip-based synthesis method that could make gene synthesis faster, more accurate, and roughly 1,000-times cheaper than existing methods.1 "Organismal-length...

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?