Move your microarray assays onto Microfluidics. Here's another reason why...

A comparison of microarray and microfluidics technologies

Moving a microarray assay to microfluidics supported the development of a faster, more reliable method for high-throughput analysis of gene expression.

Microarray assays have been used in the past to establish gene expression profiles of thousands of genes. However, challenges include variable data resulting from a multi-step hybridization process, cross-hybridization issues and low-intensity hybridization.

In this publication, a microfluidics-based reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) approach was chosen in order to enhance the sensitivity of the assay and facilitate analysis. The study effectively demonstrates that microfluidics decreases turnaround time, enhances data quality and reduces required sample quantity to optimize a laboratory workflow and help drive improved results.

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Key challenges of microarrays

Optimal volume needed for microarray hybridization can lead to dilution of low gene expression targets and failure to detect these contributors in differential gene expression analysis. 

  • Increased requirement of starting sample
    Burden of higher sample volume requirements  
  • Multi-step microarray protocol
    Increased potential of error per step
  • Longer experiment workflow
    Timing of sample to results
  • Assay reproducibility
    Low consensus due to differences in hybridization intensity

Key highlights of microfluidics

Integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) deliver precise volumes at nanoliter scale in a simple, fast process that allows for minimal sample and reagents and provides singleplex capabilities for thousands of individual reactions at one time.

  • Miniaturization of assay
    Nanoliter volumes save sample and reagents
  • Simple assay protocol
    Fewer steps decrease chances of errors
  • Shorter turnaround time
    Sample to data in hours
  • Reliable high-throughput gene expression analysis
    Robust technology

PCR demonstrated superior analytical performance with significantly less RNA input necessary and a dramatically reduced laboratory turnaround time.

– West-Thielke et al. 2022.

A focus on results

Read the publication to view superior performance from the microfluidics-based workflow over microarray analysis, suggesting a significant advantage in using the microfluidics platform.

The data confirmed:

  • Better categorization of gene distribution between phenotypes
  • Less RNA input, which preserves and lessens sample volumes
  • Reduced laboratory turnaround time

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