EDUCATION: Gene Chips for All

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Science  13 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5686, pp. 925
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5686.925c

Although DNA microarrays have become a research staple, many college students never get to work with them because they are expensive and difficult to interpret. The Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT), headed by biologist A. Malcolm Campbell of Davidson College in North Carolina, aims to give more undergraduates experience with these tools, which are chips dotted with thousands of DNA strands for measuring gene activity.

For labs that already have micro- arrays, the site provides free chip-reading software and sample images for students to practice with. Teachers can also apply to receive low-cost microarrays from GCAT ($50 for the first one, $20 for all subsequent chips). After the class runs its experiments, the teacher ships these chips to a project member's lab that has a microarray scanner. Students then download the results from the project's Web site. GCAT will dispatch gene chips to some 100 U.S. universities this year, says Davidson.

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