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Technology Discussion—Microarrays, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

In the laboratory, scientists use microarrays to map the DNA of a patient’s tissues.  For example, a physician may take a small biopsy of a cancer patient’s tumor.  That biopsy would be placed into microarray equipment.  There, the microarray would arrange hundreds or thousands of microscopic dots of tumor material onto glass laboratory slides.  Lasers would scan the slides, and computer software would compare the contents of the slides to vast databases, in order to determine the exact genes in the tumor.  Such information may be extremely useful in treating the patient.  Genetic information scanned from microarrays has been used to create giant bioinformatics databases.  Ideally, such databases could analyze the genetic blueprint of a patient’s tumor in order to assist a physician in determining the drugs that would best treat the specific genes that have mutated into cancerous material, and thereby have the best opportunity to cure the patient. 

 

Internet Research Tip:

For an excellent, fun tutorial on microarrays, see this site from the University of Utah “Virtual Labs,” learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/labs/microarray .

 

 


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