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Annu Rev Biochem. 2005;74:53-82.

Applications of DNA microarrays in biology.

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  • GHC Technologies, Incorporated, La Jolla, California 92037, USA. roland_stoughton@ghctechnologies.com


DNA microarrays have enabled biology researchers to conduct large-scale quantitative experiments. This capacity has produced qualitative changes in the breadth of hypotheses that can be explored. In what has become the dominant mode of use, changes in the transcription rate of nearly all the genes in a genome, taking place in a particular tissue or cell type, can be measured in disease states, during development, and in response to intentional experimental perturbations, such as gene disruptions and drug treatments. The response patterns have helped illuminate mechanisms of disease and identify disease subphenotypes, predict disease progression, assign function to previously unannotated genes, group genes into functional pathways, and predict activities of new compounds. Directed at the genome sequence itself, microarrays have been used to identify novel genes, binding sites of transcription factors, changes in DNA copy number, and variations from a baseline sequence, such as in emerging strains of pathogens or complex mutations in disease-causing human genes. They also serve as a general demultiplexing tool to sort spatially the sequence-tagged products of highly parallel reactions performed in solution. A brief review of microarray platform technology options, and of the process steps involved in complete experiment workflows, is included.

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