The entire spectrum of modern genetics is closely tied to the analytical and computational technologies that have been developed to understand the composition and function of genomic DNA. Widespread adoption of these technologies, further fueled by the completion of the human genome initiative, made it possible to scan or score the genome for structural and functional polymorphisms relevant to human disease and pharmacogenomic variation. As demands for sequencing, mapping, and identifying human genes have increased, so has the need for efficient means to store, access, and analyze genomic data. Aided by the expertise of scientists outside the immediate realm of biology, new revolutionary tools for the acquisition, analysis, and handling of genomic information were devised as part of a larger attempt to elucidate the relationships between structural and functional changes of the genome. The trend toward miniaturization of analytical technologies for medical diagnostics, led by the development of DNA microarrays and of microfluidic devices, now encompasses many other innovative technologies such as serial analysis of single cells, single-molecule assays, SNP and gene expression profiling, and epigenomic methodologies and is attracting an increasingly larger share of interest.
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