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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Microarrays in the Real World

Since the first microarrays were developed in the early 1990s, the technology for producing and reading has progressed in parallel to the number of applications found for them. The process of using a microarray can be split into four distinct phases; printing, hybridisation, reading and analysis (see Figure 1). As the twin processes of reading the array and analysing the date mediates the quality of the overall experiment, it is essential to understand the issues encountered in these final stages. By referring to the specifics of a two-colour microarray experiment, this article deals with the various practical issues encountered in reading a real chip, many of which are due to relatively simple optical and mechanical effects. The second part of this series will deal with the analysis of the raw image data. Anticipating the issues encountered in the latter two stages leads to both better images and ultimately better results.

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By Julian White, CEO at genapta Ltd

Since completing a PhD in Laser Spectroscopy at Cambridge University, Julian has worked in a number of engineering roles, managing a range of new product designs and introductions over the last decade. For the last five years he has been developing optical sensors for the semiconductor and biotech industries. genapta was founded in 2001 in order to address the potential of transferring techniques widespread in the telecommunications sector to life sciences.

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Julian White
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