Keith Robison robison at
Mon Mar 20 10:07:28 EST 1995

Lawrence Washington (lwashing at wrote:

: > Have you seen any of the stuff performed in the USSR (as it was) and
: > Czeclosovakia (as it was) regarding sequencing using an array of oligos
: > bound to silicone plates ?
: > 
: > I don't know what's going on with it now, but it looked exciting stuff !
: > 
: > Does anyone else know owt about it ?
: > 
: > Adrian (yawn) Edwards

: Hmmmm...this rings a faint bell from years back.  Something about
: statistically analyzing the order in which the unknown fragments bound to
: the oligo array???  Someone out there must remember.  What DID become of
: this?  

: Does anyone know of a review of alternative sequencing theories, or
: legitimate speculation on the future?  Interesting subject.

This stuff is still an unproven idea.  A significant concern is how
complex (i.e. how big) a sequence can be analyzed in this manner.
I believe most of the schemes for this can de novo sequence a
fragment of 2 (4?) to the N, where N is the length of the oligo on the array.
So, you'd still need to carve the entire genome into kilobase-sized
chunks, which is one of the major costs for conventional sequencing.

One place where these arrays might be more promising is resequencing 
-- i.e. diagnostics.  One array could test many regions of the genome.
Affymax/Affymetrix (I forget which does what) has built a chip capable
of scanning the human mitochondrial genome in such a fashion.

To find literature, try searching some of the following names


Don't write off gel-based methods yet -- they may well give us the
first sequence of the human genome.  No other method has yet 
generated significant de novo sequence data.

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Genetics / HHMI

robison at 

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