Microarrays are used for analysing thousands of samples simultaneously.
There are two types of microarrays:
DNA microarrays are a cutting-edge technology that can rapidly identify the presence of thousands of specific DNA sequences at the same time. To make microarrays, specialised machines are used to attach bits of DNA known as probes to a small, square chip. Thousands of different probes can be added to spots on the chip, with each probe targeting a different DNA sequence. When a DNA sample is added to the chip, sequences in the sample match up to corresponding DNA fragments on the chip. When matching takes place, the paired DNA strands fluoresce, which is then recorded by a highly sophisticated camera. This technique can be used to identify rapidly many different GMOs at once. Although this technique is not commonly used at present to test for GM content, Co-Extra researchers are looking into the possibility of using microarrays for high throughput GMO detection in the future.
Protein microarrays work similarly to to DNA microarrays, but in their case proteins are attached to the solid surface, which is usually probed with antibodies.