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By moving very small volumes of fluid from one microchamber to another, such emerging technologies as lab-on-a-chip and lab-on-a-compact-disc enable a diverse range of capabilities in genomics and proteomics. Microfluidic devices now on the market facilitate such tasks as sample handling, cell based assays, and liquid chromatography. The laboratories in miniature provide automation, integration, and massively parallel processing of samples. Microfluidics hasn't yet established itself in life science laboratories. Nevertheless, he says, "Several applications have become mainstream.

DNA Microarray synthesis

The promise is still there and the technology is rapidly evolving. What are we getting for it?

That attitude will change, Followwill asserts, once customers understand how to integrate microfluidics into their existing technologies, such as mass spectrometry. Business Issues Microfluidics suppliers have started to address business issues. Individual vendors have also made strides in developing new microfluidics technology.

Certainly life science is ready for microfluidics. Individual scientists and research teams can see such benefits at first hand. These features reduce the number of pipetting steps, thereby streamlining the reaction setup process and eliminating the need for liquid handling robotics.

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That increases throughput, reliability, and standardization of data. Phil Paul, chief technology officer of Eksigent Technologies, points out the specific areas in which life scientists can benefit from microfluidics tools. Broad Application Probably the best-known microfluidic device for life science research is the Agilent Bioanalyzer. Based on Caliper's LabChip technology, the instrument has broad application.

This is achieved by switching the instrument from electrophoresis mode to flow cytometry mode," says Mueller. Our RNA lab-chip kits are already the most widely used tool for the analysis of microarray samples. Agilent regards its lab-on-a-chip technology as one of the key platforms in its life science offerings, along with liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and microarrays. Hence it continually upgrades the Bioanalyzer.

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Most biotechnology research begins with isolating and purifying the constituents of a living cell or organelle. Not long ago, an individual scientist might have spent several days in the laboratory using centrifugation, electrophoresis, chromatography, and other separation techniques to purify a biological molecule for further study. Microfluidic devices can help to simplify and speed up those tasks.

Similarly, microfluidics presents a convenient solution to the time-consuming work of performing simple chemical reactions with a large number of samples. As added bonuses, the technology reduces the amount of sample required for such experiments and provides a more uniform environment for all samples.

Several companies, including Gyros and Tecan, have developed microfluidic devices for preparing samples and conducting massively parallel chemical reactions. Both base their devices on a compact disc CD platform. Sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science, the site provides a forum through which about research institutions, universities, government agencies, and corporations can distribute science related news to reporters and news media.

We get a lot of comments from scientists who follow up with us or contact public information officers directly. Administrators continually update the site to make it more appealing to public visitors.

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We offer in-context modules at which you can find out about specific topics. Currently we feature nanotechnology and bioinformatics, and early next year we'll launch one on marine biology and another on diseases in the developing world. From PCR to Genomics BioTrove offers something slightly different: a novel microplate technology for sample screening. Developed at MIT by the group that spun off BioTrove, the Living Chip is a plate that contains a precisely constructed, high-density array of 24, through-holes with coatings that make the inside surface of the through-hole chemically different from the outside surface.

Each through-hole, roughly twice the diameter of a human hair, holds about 25 nanoliters of fluid. The device acts in effect as a dense collection of microminiature test tubes that scientists can easily fill, empty, and wash in a highly parallel, multiplexed manner. The system combines the advantages of high-density arrays on glass slides with the ability of liquids and gases to pass easily into and out of the channels. European Biopharmaceutical Review New Horizons.

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How molecular profiling could revolutionize drug discovery | Nature Reviews Drug Discovery

For many decades a reductionist approach to scientific research has ruled, which has ensured that biological processes are analysed to the most intricate level. In recent years, instrumentation has become more sophisticated and specialised as it evolves in line with requirements for each omics approach for greater precision, accuracy and analysis of data. However, we have now reached a point where the knowledge from all of these different approaches must be integrated in order for us to fully unravel the complexity of a biological system as a whole.

This integration is imminent as we must acknowledge that no single omics approach holds the key to the whole story. Researchers are now in a position to study the broader biological system and answer questions that were previously unapproachable. These developments hold promise for greater understanding of disease conditions and subsequently drug discovery and development, medical diagnosis and monitoring of patient responses to treatment.

Multiple Omics To date the study of biological systems has primarily focused on one aspect of the system, such as genomics genetic data storage as DNA , transcriptomics expression of that data in the form of RNA , proteomics all the proteins made from that RNA , or metabolomics all metabolites produced by the system. We have gained a tremendous level of understanding of the human body from the genotype to phenotype. However, each individual field is beginning to reach a limit, and cross comparison across other fields is now required in order to fully understand how each of these specialities interact see Figure 1.

Genomics Genomics is perhaps the best understood of all the omics. It covers the study of not just individual genes within an organism, but the entire genome and gene expression including copying of DNA to RNA. The Human Genome Project, which was completed in , was a time of tremendous excitement for the scientific community. It was calculated that humans have approximately 25, genes.

However, it was known that we have more than 25, proteins, and so it became apparent that we need to consider the complex field of genomics in line with other omics approaches to understand how genes can interact with each other, and what happens when this interaction does not function correctly 1.

With this interaction between genes in mind, technology to understand genomics has improved and DNA microarray technology has been developed to enable genome-wide analysis. Transcriptomics identifies the structure of genes, their splicing patterns and other post-transcriptional modifications. Transcriptomics has useful research applications as it enables the detection of mutation events for example, novel splicing events or gene fusions which has given great understanding to the development of different disease conditions.

Proteomics

Proteomics Proteomics determines the structure and function of proteins. Unlike the genome, the proteome can differ greatly between samples or cells as it is changing and adapting constantly as the cell interacts with its own genome and the external environment. The diversity of proteins for example there are a far greater number of proteins than genes in the human body is likely to be a result of the alternative splicing and post-translation modification of proteins.

Unique to this edition is a new chapter on multiplex assays that examines the development and applications of arrays across diverse platforms. It discusses applications for qPCR, multiplex lateral flow, and multiplex bead assays. It also presents platform-to-platform comparisons. Microarrays remain an invaluable tool for omics-based research not only in drug discovery, but in the life sciences, in clinical research, and for diagnostic applications worldwide.