The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech announced that it has signed an agreement with Affymetrix Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFX) for the not-for-profit use of Affymetrix’ GeneChip(R) technology. Under the terms of the new, non-exclusive agreement, the institute’s Core Laboratory Facility has been granted the status of National Custom Array Center for custom microarray design, sample processing and analytical services.

Bruno Sobral, VBI’s executive and scientific director, said “We are excited by this opportunity to build further upon our successful relationship with Affymetrix. The GeneChip technology is a popular resource at VBI’s Core Laboratory Facility and a proven tool for whole-genome analysis worldwide. Our status as a National Custom Array Center means that we can expand our offerings of Affymetrix technologies and services to include new custom Affymetrix microarrays integrating further breakthrough genomics tools with experimental and bioinformatics expertise. This is a win-win situation for Affymetrix, the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and our growing customer base.”

Affymetrix custom microarrays offer researchers the flexibility to design arrays that can analyze the genome sequence of any organism. The custom arrays use the same high-quality design and manufacturing technologies used to create GeneChip catalog arrays.

The GeneChip technology platform consists of high-density microarrays and tools to help process and analyze microarrays. GeneChip microarrays consist of small DNA fragments that are chemically synthesized at specific locations, referred to as features, on a coated quartz surface; millions of features can be contained on one array. By extracting and labeling nucleic acids from experimental samples, and hybridizing those prepared samples to the array, the amount of label can be monitored at each feature, enabling a wide range of applications on a whole-genome scale. Typical applications include gene- and exon-level expression analysis, novel transcript discovery, genotyping, and resequencing.

As part of its services for gene expression and DNA analysis applications, the Core Laboratory Facility at VBI recently introduced an upgraded Affymetrix GeneChip Scanner (GCS) 3000 7G. The new upgraded instrument supports the latest high-density GeneChip microarrays for tiling, all-exon and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping research.

NOTE: Affymetrix, the Affymetrix logo and GeneChip are registered trademarks owned or used by Affymetrix Inc.