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Chips in Space

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

Aileen Constans
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,...

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