DNA sequencing and genotyping in miniaturized electrophoresis systems



Advances in microchannel electrophoretic separation systems for DNA analyses have had important impacts on biological and biomedical sciences, as exemplified by the successes of the Human Genome Project (HGP). As we enter a new era in genomic science, further technological innovations promise to provide other far-reaching benefits, many of which will require continual increases in sequencing and genotyping efficiency and throughput, as well as major decreases in the cost per analysis. Since the high-resolution size- and/or conformation-based electrophoretic separation of DNA is the most critical step in many genetic analyses, continual advances in the development of materials and methods for microchannel electrophoretic separations will be needed to meet the massive demand for high-quality, low-cost genomic data. In particular, the development (and commercialization) of miniaturized genotyping platforms is needed to support and enable the future breakthroughs of biomedical science. In this review, we briefly discuss the major sequencing and genotyping techniques in which high-throughput and high-resolution electrophoretic separations of DNA play a significant role. We review recent advances in the development of technology for capillary electrophoresis (CE), including capillary array electrophoresis (CAE) systems. Most of these CE/CAE innovations are equally applicable to implementation on microfabricated electrophoresis chips. Major effort is devoted to discussing various key elements needed for the development of integrated and practical microfluidic sequencing and genotyping platforms, including chip substrate selection, microchannel design and fabrication, microchannel surface modification, sample preparation, analyte detection, DNA sieving matrices, and device integration. Finally, we identify some of the remaining challenges, and some of the possible routes to further advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing and genotyping technologies.