Active microelectronic array system for DNA hybridization, genotyping and pharmacogenomic applications

Ron Sosnowski, Michael J. Heller, Eugene Tu, Anita H. Forster, Ray Radtkey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Microelectronic arrays have been developed for DNA hybridization analysis of point mutations, single nucleotide polymorphisms, short tandem repeats and gene expression. In addition to a variety of molecular biology and genomic research applications, such devices will also be used for infectious disease detection, genetic and cancer diagnostics, and pharmacogenomic applications. These microelectronic array devices are able to produce defined electric fields on their surfaces that allow charged molecules and other entities to be transported to or from any test site or micro-location on the planar surface of the device. These molecules and entities include DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, antibodies and cells. Electronic-based molecule addressing and hybridization can then be carried out, where the electric field is now used to greatly accelerate the hybridization reactions that occur on the selected test sites. When reversed, the electric field can be used to provide an additional parameter for improved hybridization. Special low-conductance buffers have been developed that provide for the rapid transport of the DNA molecules and facilitate the electronic hybridization reactions under conditions that do not support hybridization. Important to the device function is the permeation layer that overcoats the underlying microelectrodes. Generally composed of a porous hydrogel material impregnated with attachment chemistry, this permeation layer prevents the destruction of analytes at the active microelectrode surface, ameliorates the adverse effects of electrolysis products on the sensitive hybridization and affinity reactions, and serves as a support structure for attaching DNA probes and other molecules to the array. The microelectronic chip or array device is incorporated into a cartridge package (NanoChip™ cartridge) that provides the electronic, optical, and fluidic interfacing. A complete instrument system (NanoChip™ Molecular Biology Workstation) provides a chip loader, fluorescent reader, computer control interface and data display screen. The probe loader component allows DNA probes or target molecules (polymerase chain reactions amplicons, genomic DNA, RNA, etc.) to be selectively addressed to the array test sites, providing the end-user with "make your own chip" capabilities. The electronic hybridization can then be carried out and the chip analyzed using a fluorescent detector system. In addition to carrying out rapid, accurate and highly reliable genotyping (point mutations, single nucleotide polymorphisms, short tandem repeats), other future applications include gene expression analysis, in situ or on-chip amplification, immunoassays and cell separation and selection. Smaller and more compact systems are also being designed for portable sample to answer and point of care diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatric Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Automation
  • DNA chips
  • Electronically active
  • Genotype
  • Short tandem repeats
  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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