Future Directions

The DNA microarray technology has reached a sufficiently mature level. Major opportunities in the development of microarray technologies are in the areas of protein microarrays and live cell microarrays. As described above, in their respective sections, there are numerous challenges. For protein micro-arrays, major breakthroughs in the area of improving their stability and providing appropriate amplification scheme to improve sensitivity in order to cover a wide range of concentrations of various proteins have to occur in order for them to find wide acceptance.

For live cell microarrays, a major limitation is the availability of c-DNAs for large-scale experiments. Recently a new type of microarray consisting of microbeads have been described by Brenner et al. (2000). It provides gene expression analysis by massive parallel signature sequencing (abbreviated as MPSS) on microbead arrays. This approach combines non-gel-based signature sequencing within vitrocloning of millions of templates on separate 5 |mm-diameter microbeads which were then assembled as a planar array in a flow cell at a density greater than 3 x 106 microbeads/cm3. A fluorescence-base signature sequencing method was used to simultaneously analyze sequences of the free ends of the cloned templates on each microbead.

Another area of future development of technology is that of a multitask chip that will allow capture, separation, and quantitative analyses of proteins on one chip.

A growing trend is also the shift of focus from production of microarrays to enhancing the scope of applications and improving experimental design and analysis. In order for this widening of scope to occur, development at many fronts has to occur. Some of these are (van Berkum and Holstege, 2001)

• Improved clone collections

• Commercial availability of cheaper arrays

• Ability to use small amount of RNA

• Improved sensitivity and reproducibility

• Improved and validated analysis techniques

• Accepted universal standards

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