Advances in biochemistry, chemistry and engineering have enabled the development of a new gene expression assay. This 'chip-based' approach utilizes microscopic arrays of cDNAs printed on glass as high-density hybridization targets. Fluorescent probe mixtures derived from total cellular messenger RNA (mRNA) hybridize to cognate elements on the array, allowing accurate measurement of the expression of the corresponding genes. Array densities of > 1,000 cDNAs per cm2 enable quantitative expression monitoring of a large number of genes in a single hybridization. A two-color fluorescence detection scheme allows rapid and simultaneous differential expression analysis of independent biological samples. Mass-produced microarrays provide a new tool for genome expression analysis that may revolutionize genetic dissection, drug discovery and human disease diagnostics.