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Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jul;37(13):4181-93. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp552. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Single nucleotide polymorphism arrays: a decade of biological, computational and technological advances.

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Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Array manufacturers originally designed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays to genotype human DNA at thousands of SNPs across the genome simultaneously. In the decade since their initial development, the platform's applications have expanded to include the detection and characterization of copy number variation--whether somatic, inherited, or de novo--as well as loss-of-heterozygosity in cancer cells. The technology's impressive contributions to insights in population and molecular genetics have been fueled by advances in computational methodology, and indeed these insights and methodologies have spurred developments in the arrays themselves. This review describes the most commonly used SNP array platforms, surveys the computational methodologies used to convert the raw data into inferences at the DNA level, and details the broad range of applications. Although the long-term future of SNP arrays is unclear, cost considerations ensure their relevance for at least the next several years. Even as emerging technologies seem poised to take over for at least some applications, researchers working with these new sources of data are adopting the computational approaches originally developed for SNP arrays.

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