Fluidigm has announced publication of a second article, in a span of weeks, on another application for its BioMark™ digital arrays.
The article released in the 1 December 2006 issue of Science, is titled: "Microfluidic Digital PCR for Multigene Analysis of Individual Environmental Bacteria".
In the Science study, digital arrays were used to identify, for the first time, symbiotic termite gut bacteria encoding a gene involved in a key step in the fermentation of cellulose.
The feat is noteworthy because scientists were able to corral individual microbes of this complex community within tiny chambers on the digital array and to use PCR probes to find out which of them had the gene of interest.
The PCR products for those bacteria were then extracted from the array and analyzed to discover their exact DNA sequences.
The digital array has opened the door to immense opportunity in microbial ecology, according to Dr. Jared Leadbetter, the corresponding author on the Science article.
"This article supports our claim that digital PCR, implemented in digital arrays, will radically speed discovery across diverse biological fields," said Fluidigm CEO Gajus Worthington.
Last month, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (November 21, 2006), a research article validated digital arrays as ideal for measuring very subtle differences in regulatory states using single stem cells.
Last year, in work presented at the American Society of Hematology, digital arrays were credited as a breakthrough tool for early detection of new strains of cancerous cells that may confer drug resistance.
BioMark digital arrays are part of a line of integrated fluidic circuits for nanovolume fluid handling.