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Transgenic Res. 2005 Oct;14(5):551-61.

Arabidopsis thaliana full genome longmer microarrays: a powerful gene discovery tool for agriculture and forestry.

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Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, BC V6T 1Z4 Vancouver, Canada.


Sequenced plant genomes provide a large reservoir of known genes with potential for use in crop and tree improvement, but assignment of specific functions to annotated genes in sequenced plant genomes remains a challenge. Furthermore, most plant genes belong to families encoding proteins with related but distinct functions. In this commentary, we discuss our development of Arabidopsis spotted whole genome longmer oligonucleotide microarrays, and their use in global transcription profiling. We show that longmer array based transcriptome analysis in Arabidopsis can be used as an efficient and effective gene discovery and functional genomics tool, particularly for functional analyses of members of large gene families. We discuss experiments that focus on gene families involved in phenylpropanoid natural product biosynthesis and fiber differentiation. These analyses have helped to elucidate functions of individual gene family members, and have identified new candidate genes involved in fiber development and differentiation. Results obtained by these studies in Arabidopsis can be used as the basis for gene discovery in commercially important plants, and we have focused our attention on Populus trichocarpa (poplar), a species important in forestry and agroforestry for which complete genome sequence information is available.

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