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Biosens Bioelectron. 2003 May;18(5-6):541-6.

High-density, microsphere-based fiber optic DNA microarrays.

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  • 1The Max Tishler Laboratory for Organic Chemistry, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.


A high-density fiber optic DNA microarray has been developed consisting of oligonucleotide-functionalized, 3.1-microm-diameter microspheres randomly distributed on the etched face of an imaging fiber bundle. The fiber bundles are comprised of 6000-50000 fused optical fibers and each fiber terminates with an etched well. The microwell array is capable of housing complementary-sized microspheres, each containing thousands of copies of a unique oligonucleotide probe sequence. The array fabrication process results in random microsphere placement. Determining the position of microspheres in the random array requires an optical encoding scheme. This array platform provides many advantages over other array formats. The microsphere-stock suspension concentration added to the etched fiber can be controlled to provide inherent sensor redundancy. Examining identical microspheres has a beneficial effect on the signal-to-noise ratio. As other sequences of interest are discovered, new microsphere sensing elements can be added to existing microsphere pools and new arrays can be fabricated incorporating the new sequences without altering the existing detection capabilities. These microarrays contain the smallest feature sizes (3 microm) of any DNA array, allowing interrogation of extremely small sample volumes. Reducing the feature size results in higher local target molecule concentrations, creating rapid and highly sensitive assays. The microsphere array platform is also flexible in its applications; research has included DNA-protein interaction profiles, microbial strain differentiation, and non-labeled target interrogation with molecular beacons. Fiber optic microsphere-based DNA microarrays have a simple fabrication protocol enabling their expansion into other applications, such as single cell-based assays.

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