Since the decoding of the human genome, the quest to obtain more and more molecular information from smaller and smaller samples is intensifying. Today the burden of this challenge is being borne by planar arrays, but the quality of the data provided by this approach is limited by variations in performance between different arrays. Suspension arrays of encoded microspheres provide higher quality data, but the amount of molecular information that can be acquired with them is limited by the number of codes that can be distinguished in the same sample. New methods of preparing encoded particles promise to alleviate this problem, but in the face of a growing number of new technologies it is sometimes difficult to decide which, if any, will succeed. Herein we appraise these new forms of encoded particle critically, and ask if they can deliver the necessary multiplexing power and whether they will perform well in multiplexed assays.
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