Manufacturing the gene chip, Stephen Fodor

Interviewee: Stephen Fodor. Stephen Fodor talks about manufacturing the gene chip.

The thing that makes this place so special and that makes the manufacturing process so simple is that we really use basically four ingredients, we use the A, the C, the G and the T. And we can put those together in different ways in order to build diversity or different DNA strands. Now of course nature does this in the genome itself, the genome is some three billion base pairs long, however it's simply combinations of those four bases, A, C, G and T. And here is probably, you know, well no doubt is the world's largest assembly plant of DNA molecules in terms of how many different molecules are built and the complexity. We take these four ingredients, we take a piece of glass, it comes in through the factory door and gets set up on the instrumentation. Now at the same time what happens if, if we have a reference database, such as the human genome, we can decompose pieces of that genome into the segments that we want to study on the chip. So we have a big computer file that has the human genome in it, and we say we want to ask six million questions about different parts of that human genome. So in a computer you actually identify which of those sections you are, that computer file is then used in the manufacturing process with these four ingredients, in order to build these DNA chips.

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