Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFX) introduces Axiom® miRNA Target Site Genotyping Arrays, the only high-density genotyping tools for genome-wide evaluation of microRNA (miRNA) target sites. These new arrays will enable comprehensive studies to elucidate how genomic variation in miRNA regulatory machinery influences gene expression and disease risk. It interrogates 238,000 SNPs and indels in genes for all parts of the miRNA cascade including miRNAs, their mRNA target sites, and silencing machinery. Last month the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Consortium, an international collaboration of research groups funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, reported exciting data upending the view that large portions of the human genome contain “junk” DNA. This non-coding genetic content has been shown to play a larger role in complex diseases than previously thought. “We now realize that a portion of this non-coding DNA is highly relevant in the regulation of translation and plays a role in health and disease,” stated Andy Last, PhD, Executive Vice President of Genetic Analysis and Clinical Applications Business Unit at Affymetrix. “These new arrays are powerful tools for performing large scale genomic analysis of these important regulatory miRNA elements potentially involved in complex disease.” These genotyping arrays will complement Affymetrix’ suite of miRNA expression analysis products, including GeneChip ® miRNA 3.0 Array, QuantiGene ® 2.0 miRNA Assay, and QuantiGene ® ViewRNA in situ Hybridization (ISH) Cell Assay, which enable comprehensive and integrated analysis to advance our understanding of the role of gene regulation in health and disease. Over 80 percent of the content on the new Axiom ® miRNA Target Site Genotyping Arrays is not found on other widely used genotyping arrays and will enable scientists to survey their sample cohorts against important new content and supplement their existing association studies via meta-analysis. “The studies we are performing using the Axiom ® miRNA Target Site Genotyping Array are showing promising results,” stated Professor Stephen B. Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “We believe this array, focused on detecting variation in miRNA regulatory machinery, represents a new opportunity to broadly interrogate an important class of variants relevant to cancer research.” In addition to the predesigned catalog version, customers can easily choose to add their own content to Axiom ® miRNA Target Site Genotyping Arrays, including variants in long non-coding RNAs for disease association studies. Preliminary studies with the new array will be presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) in San Francisco at 10:40 a.m. on November 10, 2012. The talk, entitled “Case-control study of microRNA target site polymorphisms and colorectal cancer in the Ashkenazi Jewish population” will be presented by Dr. Michael Shapero, Sr. Director of Molecular Genetics, Affymetrix.