Interviewee: Pat Brown.
Pat Brown discusses the early technology behind the microarray.
(DNAi Location: Applications > Genes and medicine > genetic profiling > Patrick Brown > Making a microarray)
We built a very simple robot that used a very simple and ancient technology, the technology of the fountain pen, and what the robot does is it takes a set of fountain pens and dips them in each of these little ink wells in this 96-well plate, and the ink in these ink wells is the DNA that represents a human gene. Each well represents a different human gene. The pens dip into the wells and then they move over and print the DNA ink in a nice array on a little microscope slide like this and they repeat that process over and over again from hundreds of these plates, finally producing an array that represents about thirty thousand different human genes. And then we can use these microarrays in a very simple experimental procedure that allows us, that basically causes the spots to light up whenever the genome in a particular cell or tissue sample uses one of these genes, one of these words, in the script that it's writing.