DNA micro-array

 A small glass surface to which has been fixed an array of DNA fragments, each with a defined location. A typical DNA chip would contain 10 000 discrete spots (each containing a different DNA fragment) in an area of just a few square centimetres. When a solution of fluorescently labelled DNA fragments is hybridized to the chip, spots to which hybridization occurs are visible as fluorescence. If the spots on the chip are genes (expressed sequence tags, q.v.), hybridization with cDNA from a particular tissue shows which genes are expressed in that tissue. If the spots are short, synthesized oligonucleotides (approximately 25 bases) corresponding to that part of a gene containing a single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP)(q.v.), with a separate spot for each of the 4 possible bases at that site, hybridization with genomic DNA from an individual plant or animal enables that individual to be genotyped at as many SNP loci as are represented on the chip. The big advantage of DNA chips is the extent to which the process of genotyping can be automated, thereby enabling huge numbers of plants or animals to be genotyped for a huge number of loci.

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