To truly reap the benefits of the flood of information coming out of sequencing factories worldwide, investigators must move beyond the traditional notion of "one-gene, one-experiment," in favor of highly parallel, automation-friendly, and miniaturized assays. One such tool is the microarray--a matrix of biomaterials attached to a support such as glass or plastic.1-3 Using microarrays, scientists can perform hundreds or thousands of experiments in parallel, all thanks to a chip usually no bigger than a microscope slide.

DNA microarrays, as the name suggests, are arrays of oligonucleotides, cDNAs, or other DNA targets, which promise to advance several biomedical goals. First, microarrays allow researchers to track global gene expression patterns characteristic of normal and disease states, and to identify genes that are up- or down-regulated when a drug or signaling factor is added.1 Such information can advance drug discovery efforts. Second, since gene expression patterns vary between physiological states...

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