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Biochips and Microarray technology

Basics
A DNA microarray is a multiplex technology used in molecular biology and in medicine. It
consists of an arrayed series of thousands of microscopic spots of DNA oligonucleotides,
called features, each containing picomoles of a specific DNA sequence. This can be a short
section of a gene or other DNA element that are used as probes to hybridize a cDNA or cRNA
sample (called target) under high-stringency conditions. Probe-target hybridization is usually
detected and quantified by detection of fluorophore-, silver-, or chemiluminescence-labeled
targets to determine relative abundance of nucleic acid sequences in the target.

In standard microarrays, the probes are attached to a solid surface by a covalent bond to a chemical matrix
(via epoxy-silane, amino-silane, lysine, polyacrylamide or others). The solid surface can be glass or a silicon
chip, in which case they are commonly known as gene chip or colloquially Affy chip when an Affymetrix
chip is used. Other microarray platforms, such as Illumina, use microscopic beads, instead of the large solid
support. DNA arrays are different from other types of microarray only in that they either measure DNA or
use DNA as part of its detection system.
DNA microarrays can be used to measure changes in expression levels, to detect single nucleotide
polymorphisms (SNPs), in genotyping or in resequencing mutant genomes. Microarrays also differ in
fabrication, workings, accuracy, efficiency, and cost

Historical Devolopment
Microarray technology evolved from
Southern blotting, where fragmented DNA
is attached to a substrate and then
probed with a known gene or fragment. The use of a collection of distinct DNAs in arrays for
expression profiling was first described in 1987, and the arrayed DNAs were used to identify
genes whose expression is modulated by interferon.[1] These early gene arrays were made by
spotting cDNAs onto filter paper with a pin-spotting device. The use of miniaturized
microarrays for gene expression profiling was first reported in 1995, [2] and a complete
eukaryotic genome (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) on a microarray was published in 1997. [3]