chips also known as micro arrays are very significant technological development
in molecular biology and are perhaps most efficient tool available for functional
genomics today. An evident from the name micro array essentially consists of an
array of either Oligonucleotides or cDNA fixed on a substrate. There has been
an explosion of information in the field of genomics in the last five years. Genomes
of several organisms have been fully sequenced. The next step necessarily involves
the analysis of comparative expression levels of various genes and to identify
all the possible variations of sequence present in each of the gene or in the
noncording regulatory regions obtained from a particular population. Handling
such large volumes of data requires techniques which necessitate miniaturization
and a massive scale parallelism. Hence the DNA chip comes in to the picture.
such as those at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' (UAF) Institute of Arctic
Biology (IAB) and the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) seek to understand
how organisms deal with the demands of their natural environment-as shown by the
discovery of many remarkable adaptations that organisms have acquired living in
the extremes of Alaska. Many of these adaptations have significant biomedical
relevance in areas such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, and physiological stress.
Somehow, our wild counterparts have adapted to severe environmental demands over
long periods of time. Simultaneous to this research, scientists are also investigating
the molecular changes that can be observed in humans as a result of their environment,
such as through smoking or exposure to contaminants.
push in research has resulted in the integration with life science research of
approaches from many fields, including engineering, physics, mathematics, and
computer science. One of the most well-known results of this is the Human Genome
Project. Through this project, researchers * were able to design instruments capable
of performing many different types of molecular measurements so that statistically
significant and large scale sampling of these molecules could be achieved. Now,
biomedical research is producing data that show researchers that things are not
always where they expected them to be, while at the same time researchers are
at a rapidly expanding phase of discovery and analysis of large, highly repeatable
measurements of complex molecular systems.
of the more important and generally applicable tools that has emerged from this
type of research is called DNA micro arrays, or DNA chip technology
uses the fundamentals of Watson and Crick base-pairing along with hybridization
to customize applications of DNA micro arrays to simultaneously interrogate a
large number of genetic loci (those locations on the DNA molecules that have differing
biological roles). The result of this type of analysis is that experiments that
once tool ten years in thousands of laboratories can now be accomplished with
a small number of experiments in just one laboratory.
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