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‘Arrays of arrays’ promise more efficient gene expression profiles
Edward R. Winstead

Researchers use DNA microarrays, or gene chips, to distinguish among different types of tissues based on the expression patterns of thousands of genes. A new study says the technology can be modified to profile more tissue samples simultaneously and with greater efficiency. The innovation is called an array of arrays.

Gene expression profiles are typically obtained one at a time by hybridizing a single tissue sample to a single array on an individual glass slide. The integrated device described in the study is a glass wafer that includes 49 individual oligonucleotide arrays arranged as a 7 × 7 array of arrays.

David J. Lockhart and colleagues at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, in San Diego, California, developed a way to hybridize many tissue samples to multiple arrays on a single glass slide, or wafer. Using this and other modifications, they completed a study of gene expression in ovarian cancer in a single experiment. This was done "in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the effort than would have been required with the conventional approach," the researchers write in Genome Research.

"We want to stress that although we have used Affymetrix oligonucleotide arrays, the approach can be readily adapted to other types of arrays," they add. David Stern, of Affymetrix, Inc., in Santa Clara, California, collaborated on the study.

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Zarrinkar, P.P. et al. Arrays of arrays for high-throughput gene expression profiling. Genome Res 11, 1256-1261 (July 2001).

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