The human genome on a chip

The first single-chip microarray for the human genome will soon be joined by rivals

Andrew Scott(

The ability to analyze and manipulate the human genome has taken an impressive step forward with the commercial launch on October 2 of a microarray for analysis of the whole genome on a single chip.

The chip, from gene technology firm Affymetrix, is about the size of a dime and carries over 1 million oligonucleotide probes, allowing analysis of the expression of nearly 50,000 RNA transcripts from the 30,000 or so genes in the human genome.

"The 'Human Plus' array represents a leap in array technology data capacity," said Trevor J. Nicholls, chief commercial officer at Affymetrix, in the Affymetrix press release.

"The idea of probing the human genome's expressed genes on a single chip is an exciting concept," Larry Thompson, spokesman for the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), told The Scientist. He added: "The announcement of Affymetrix's new chip appears to be an important step...

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