In the rapidly widening arena of functional genomics, a few key players dominate the lab tools game. Perhaps the most prominent is the DNA microarray. This robust tool allows researchers to examine the expression of hundreds, even thousands, of genes at once. In these arrays, carefully organized patches of either complementary DNA (cDNA) clones or oligonucleotides are robotically deposited on a fixed surface. Researchers use labeled probes to locate areas of gene expression, tackling questions of gene function and interaction on a genome-wide basis. The microarray has revolutionized molecular biology by broadening the scale of expression studies and is quickly becoming an essential tool for gene discovery, disease diagnosis, and drug design.

With this expanded scale comes a new host of problems, one of which is how to efficiently design primers and probes for the creation of custom arrays. PREMIER Biosoft International of Palo Alto, Calif., solved this problem with...

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