A report said that standardized testing methods in DNA chip diagnostics means that in the space of a few years the devices will become widespread.
According to nikkei.net, 60 Japanese companies have cooperated to standardize DNA chip test methods - the loose consortium includes Toshiba, Mitsubishi Rayon and Toray Industries.
DNA chips are slivers of glass or silicon layered with deoxyribonucleic acid. They are used to test for diseases using blood or other genetic samples.
But up until now, the widespread disparity in the chips available has meant they've only found a niche in research institutes.
A standardized DNA chip would mean that the technology could permeate hospotals and clinics, making testing easier and quicker.
According to nikkei.net, the domestic market in Japan for DNA chips is currently worth six billion yen, but could rise to 50 billion yen by 2012. The story is here (subscription needed). (Picture on front page of a DNA Microarray, courtesy of Wikipedia).