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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, February 05, 2001

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find related articles. powered by google. Scientific American Shrinking to Enormity
"With each successive generation of microarray technology, the size of the probe spots shrinks, the number of genes per chip rises, and biologists' schemes for using the devices swell in grandeur. "We can now put over 60 million probes on a single glass wafer," Fodor says excitedly. He figures the entire human genome will fit on 200 to 300 wafers. And in fact, in September, Affymetrix spun off Perlegen, a subsidiary that plans to use microarrays to sequence, from scratch, the genomes contained in both chromosomes of 50 people to detect the subtle variations both within and among them. "In these patterns we will find the signature of human evolution. The potential for scientific discovery," Fodor boasts, "is fantastic."

So is the potential for confusion and error, Young and others caution."

find related articles. powered by google. The Scientist Microarrays Beyond Reach
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"Using the subheading "Microarray tools open genomes to discoverers" in the Jan. 22 Hot Papers article1 is much like telling a group of kindergartners: "Any of you can become the president of the United States." The fact is most of them will never be the president no matter how hard they try. Microarrays are excellent tools, but their exorbitant price makes them beyond the reach of most researchers. The few papers that have been published so far using the "chips" came from either rich labs or labs that have industrial/proprietary connections.

I don't think the microarray hot papers of today will remain hot for long. They were neither conceptually novel nor hard to do; they simply represent "proof of concept" or application of a great but easy technology."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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