DNA Chip Technology Study

Joan Evans j.evans at scienceboard.net
Sat Feb 6 05:33:09 EST 1999

During the week of February 8, 1999, The Science Advisory Board
(http://www.scienceboard.net) will begin a new study on DNA chip
technology.  Molecular biologists with an interest in this emerging
technology are encouraged to register at The Science Advisory Board
website to share their opinions on how they believe DNA chip technology
must evolve to better meet their research needs.

A DNA chip (commonly referred to as a gene chip or DNA microarray) is a
small, flat surface onto which DNA strands are immobilized.  The DNA is
immobilized in distinct spots, and each spot contains a unique DNA
sequence.  DNA chips use the same process of hybridization that is used
in conventional Southern and Northern blots, but have dramatically
improved the efficiency of such hybridizations.  After hybridization
between complementary DNA sequences in the sample and immobilized DNA,
the hybridization signals are detected and analyzed.

DNA chips perform a wide range of biological experiments. The main
advantage that they offer over existing methods and technologies is that
they use miniaturization to perform experiments faster and with less
reagents.  DNA chip technology is being used to answer four basic
questions that can be applied to any gene:

- What is its identity?
- Where is it located in the human genome?
- How strongly is it activated under different conditions?
- How do variations in the gene correlate to human health?

The Science Advisory Board is an online panel of 4,000 biomedical
scientists, physicians and other medical professionals from 64
countries.  If you would like to voice your opinions in this or future
studies, please complete the Research Panel registration form which can
be found at http://www.scienceboard.net and you be notified of your
eligibility.  Your identity and individual responses are always held in
strict confidence, and participants are compensated for their time.

Joan Evans
Membership Secretary
The Science Advisory Board

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