The recent sequencing of the human genome has opened a new era in biomedical research. However, the creative energy expended on the completion of this task has now been necessarily refocused on a central, essential question, namely how to properly convert the dry, linear sequence data generated by the Human Genome Project into practical use—for example, into insights into cellular function such as the characterization of the role of gene products in normal physiology and pathological disease.
Initially developed through data obtained through the Human Genome Project, DNA microarrays have emerged as a key, powerful technology that has related gene sequence information to functional insights into biological mechanisms. High-density DNA probe arrays are fast transforming gene-based biomedical research and are becoming routine tools for the high-throughput analysis of gene expression in a wide range of biological systems. Although a number of approaches can be taken when implementing microarray-based studies, all are capable of providing important insights into biologic function. Microarrays will continue to have a significant impact on research, especially in terms of identifying transcripts whose expression is enriched in one cell type as compared to another, either in the resting state of the cell, or in the response to external stimuli.
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