Illumina launches MicroRNA assay for gene expression profiling

Illumina, Inc. today launched a MicroRNA Assay for Gene Expression profiling. Priced at $95 per sample, this assay is the only solution available to allow rapid and reproducible miRNA expression profiling at a price less than half that of other commercially available methods.

By developing a high-density expression array with content from the miRBase Sequence Database this new tool will help researchers better understand the role microRNAs (miRNA) play in regulating messenger RNA (mRNA).

According to Robert C. Thompson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at University of Michigan, “miRNAs are of profound interest to me given the level of regulation that brain cells have at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Illumina’s new MicroRNA Assay is a solution ideally suited for high throughput analysis of brain samples, which meets my need for an application that utilizes small amounts of total RNA while generating reliable results.”

With the new MicroRNA Assay for Gene Expression profiling, coupled with the recently launched Digital Gene Expression Profiling and Small RNA Analysis applications, Illumina provides the most comprehensive array and sequencing-based gene expression tool kit in the industry. Using a Digital Gene Expression approach, researchers can discover new miRNAs without prior sequence information. For high-throughput studies that validate and profile miRNA researchers can take advantage of the array-based miRNA solution.

“We are offering miRNA products at half of the cost of other commercially available methods so that researchers can conduct larger studies at a price they can afford,” said Tanya Boyaniwsky, Illumina’s Marketing Manager for Gene Expression. “We are committed to regularly updating these products with newly discovered miRNAs as well as information from internal small RNA discovery projects conducted on Illumina’s Genome Analyzer.”

Compared to traditional mRNA-based gene expression approaches, miRNA profiling has distinct advantages: A single miRNA can regulate the expression of several genes and could produce larger effects that more clearly influence a disease state. With only approximately 1,000 miRNAs predicted in humans, compared to 30,000 mRNAs per cell, miRNAs represent a rich pool of potential diagnostic biomarkers. In addition, miRNAs are less likely to be degraded in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples or other RNA samples of poor quality. For these reasons, miRNA profiling is vital to the study of developmental biology, stem cell characterization, biomarker discovery, oncogenesis, therapeutic effects, viral infection processes and many other areas of fundamental and applied biology.


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