Rapid access to genetic information is central to the revolution presently occurring in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly In relation to novel drug target identification and drug development. Genetic variation, gene expression, gene function and gene structure are just some of the important research areas requiring efficient methods of DNA screening. Here, we highlight state-of-the-art techniques and devices for gene screening that promise cheaper and higher-throughput yields than currently achieved with DNA microarrays. We include an overview of existing and proposed bead-based strategies designed to dramatically increase the number of probes that can be interrogated in one assay. We focus, in particular, on the issue of encoding and/or decoding (bar-coding) large bead-based libraries for HTS.