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Agilent Launches ChIP-on-chip Microarray Platform

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Agilent Technologies Inc. has announced the introduction of its ChIP-on-chip microarray solution for analyzing activity at regulatory regions of genomes.

The technology, also known as location analysis, designed to provide insight into key mechanisms of embryonic stem cells and illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and central nervous system disorders.

"ChIP" refers to chromatin immunoprecipitation, and "chip" refers to the glass slides on which the microarrays are printed.

"ChIP-on-chip is an example of Agilent's drive to develop the next generation of microarray applications," said Fran DiNuzzo, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Integrated Biology Solutions business.

"Emerging applications, coupled with the ability to design and print microarrays containing up-to-date content, are the foundation of our genomics program."

"ChIP-on-chip goes beyond gene expression to explore gene regulation activity," said Richard Young, Ph.D., of MIT and its Whitehead Institute affiliate.

"Regulatory proteins bind to genomic DNA to control DNA replication and gene expression, thereby functioning as switches in the regulatory circuitry of cells.”

“Combine this information with gene expression data and you get biomarkers."

On September 8, the early online edition of the journal Cell published a paper by researchers at Dr. Young's Whitehead Institute, describing how they used the technique to discover the mechanism by which human embryonic stem cells retain the ability to become any type cell, and how this ability is lost once the cells begin to differentiate.

The Aug. 26, 2005, issue of Cell (Vol. 122, 517-527) also published a paper by researchers at the Young lab, describing how they used chromatin immunoprecipitation with DNA microarrays to produce genome-wide maps of acetylation and methylation -- regulatory events -- in yeast.

The lab studies yeast to construct testable models to predict how cellular processes are regulated at the transcription level by the proteins that control gene expression.

In January 2005, Agilent purchased Computational Biology Corp., which was founded by Dr. Young to develop ChIP-on-chip technology.

The company's eArray online tool is designed to enable users to design their own custom microarrays and then print them on slides using Agilent's SurePrint inkjet technology.

Agilent claims that, this empowers researchers to develop innovative applications in the highly dynamic genomics environment.

"Analyzing transcriptional regulation using location analysis microarrays is a major aspect of our research into the basic mechanism of lung fibrosis," said Naftali Kaminski, M.D., director of the Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"We consider it critical to be able to perform the hybridizations and visualize and analyze the results in our own lab.”

“This provides us with immediate access to results, and the ability to troubleshoot day-to-day experiments rather than being dependent on batch analyses."

Referring to his usage of some of the mammalian designs, Dr. Brian Dynlacht, director of Genomics Program for New York University's Cancer Institute, said, "We observe very impressive enrichment upon immunoprecipitation with these microarrays, and the dynamic range of the signal in the IP channel is excellent. The background signal is extremely low."