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Mitsubishi Rayon Co. said Tuesday it has developed a low-cost technique to manufacture DNA chips used for genetic screening of patients to detect their chances of developing gene-related diseases.

The technique is not based on a similar patented technology developed by U.S. company Affymetrix Inc., enabling the major acrylic-fiber manufacturer to skip license fee payments to the U.S. company.

Mitsubishi Rayon said it has applied for some 30 patents on the technique in more than 40 countries.

The company said it plans to start sample shipments as early as next spring.

The global market for DNA chips is estimated at 12.5 billion yen a year, and it is projected to grow to several hundred billion yen by 2010.

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