Biological arrays are nothing more than an ordered set of compounds affixed to a solid surface. By applying a sample solution to the array it is possible to assay the interaction of the sample with each of the compounds on the array. Microarrays are a powerful research tool because they enable massively-parallel assays of biological samples.
The most common application of microarrays is gene expression analysis. In this case the interaction between labeled mRNA in a biological sample and complementary DNA probes, which are affixed to the array, allows rapid quantification of the entire transcriptome. Many other types of arrays are possible. Nucleic acid arrays can also be used for genotyping and antibody arrays can be used for proteomics.
The Affymetrix GeneChip system (http://www.affymetrix.com/products/arrays/index.affx) is a commercial platform that enables rapid, reproducible, and accurate microarray analysis on a genome-wide scale. The Affymetrix GeneChip platform can be used for gene expression, chromatin immunoprecipitation and genotyping analysis: really anything that involves sequence-specific nucleic-acid hybridization.
At the Boston University Microarray Resource we strive to allow you to easily incorporate microarrays into your research and help you get the most out of your data. You provide us with high quality samples and the Microarray Resource does the rest.