Analysis of SNPs and other genomic variations using gel-based chips



Application of microarrays for the analysis of point mutations and SNPs in genomic DNAs is currently under intensive development. Various technologies are being investigated, employing enzymatic, chemical, and physical tools [for review, see Tillib and Mirzabekov, 2001]. Our current approach is based on the use of IMAGE chips (immobilized microarrays of gel elements) consisting of an array of gel pads attached to a hydrophobic glass surface. The gel pads range in size from picoliters to nanoliters and are used for immobilization of oligonucleotide probes, as well as miniature test tubes for chemical or enzymatic reactions with tethered compounds. Nucleic acids are hybridized, fractionated, modified, and subjected to enzymatic reactions inside the pads. All steps of sequence analysis (PCR-amplification, activation or release of primers and products, DNA extension, hybridization, and reading of the results) can be performed within the same pad. A flexible and inexpensive technology platform enables one to monitor processes in the arrays in both real time and steady-state. Identification of SNPs, microsequencing, and other specific tasks are easily performed. In particular, stacking interactions with short oligonucleotides enhance the capability of high-throughput screening. The IMAGE chips can be analyzed using a variety of equipment, from a dedicated multi-color fluorescent microscope or MALDI-spectrometer to an inexpensive portable analyzer suitable for field conditions. Customized gel-based chips were successfully used for screening of SNPs in a broad range of biologically meaningful genes. Hum Mutat 19:343–360, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.