Advances in solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis and hybridization techniques have led to an incipient technology based on the use of oligonucleotide arrays. The inclusion of a large number of oligonucleotide probes within a single array greatly reduces the cost of their synthesis and allows thousands of hybridizations to be carried out simultaneously. The range of potential applications of oligonucleotide arrays was expanded by the realization that nucleic acids can be sequenced by hybridizing them to all possible oligonucleotides of a given length. Additional possibilities are offered by novel types of oligonucleotide arrays that are capable of parallel sorting, isolating, and manipulating thousands, and even millions, of nucleic acid species. Fields, such as site-directed mutagenesis, protein engineering, and recombinant DNA technology, would benefit from using these arrays. Further, these approaches could enable the analysis of entire genomes by preparing ordered fragment libraries, and by sequencing complex pools of nucleic acids, in a novel approach that provides long-range sequence information by generating nested nucleic acids and then surveying the oligonucleotides contained in the nested strands. This would allow large diploid genomes to be sequenced directly in a completely automated procedure that does not require fragment cloning or chromosome mapping.
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