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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