Molecular diagnostics is being revolutionized by the completion of the human genome project and by the development of highly advanced technologies for DNA testing. One of the most important challenges is the introduction of high throughput systems such as DNA chips into diagnostic laboratories. DNA microchips are small devices permitting rapid analysis of genetic information, exploiting miniaturization of all components and automation of operational procedures. The most important biochip applications include gene expression and genetic variation identification and both may improve human molecular diagnostics. Here we review several approaches developed to allow rapid detection of many single nucleotide polymorphisms and mutations in large population samples. Among these, the use of microelectronics seems to best fit with the needs of molecular diagnostics.
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