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microarray

microarray A glass slide or bead on which are deposited biomolecules or other material in a regular micro-scale pattern to enable automated simultaneous multiple assays of target substances or activities. Microarrays are powerful analytical tools with wide-ranging applications. They can be designed to carry small DNA molecules (see DNA microarray), proteins (e.g. antibodies or antigens), carbohydrates or other organic molecules, or even individual living cells. These reagents are applied to the glass substrate in a regular microscopic grid pattern, each being identified by its unique coordinate, or address, on the grid. Interaction of a target substance (e.g. an antibody or a complementary nucleic acid) with a particular address on the microarray activates or attaches a label (e.g. a fluorescent dye). The microarray can then be ‘read’ by a scanner, which automatically assesses the amount of label at each address, and hence the amount of target substance. Even smaller-scale nanoarrays are already being developed, to increase further the scope and speed of this technology.

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microarray

mi·cro·ar·ray / ˈmīkrō-əˌrā/ • n. a grid of DNA segments of known sequence that is used to test and map DNA fragments, antibodies, or proteins.

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