A tremendous interest in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) characterization tools was spurred by the mapping and sequencing of the human genome. New tools were needed, beginning in the early 1990s, to cope with the unprecedented amount of genomic information that was being discovered. Such needs led to the development of DNA microarrays; tiny gene-based sensors traditionally prepared on coated glass microscope slides. The following review is intended to provide historical insight into the advent of the DNA microarray, followed by a description of the technology from both the application and fabrication points of view. Finally, the unmet challenges and needs associated with DNA microarrays will be described to define areas of potential future developments for the materials researcher.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(04)00122-1