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Methods Mol Biol. 2008;410:81-110.

Comparative molecular physiological genomics. Heterologous probing of cDNA arrays.

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Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, MA, USA.


The use of DNA microarrays has gained wider acceptance as a standard tool for molecular biology studies over the past decade. In particular, biomedical studies embraced this technology as soon as arrays were produced for the common laboratory species. Slower to develop, however, has been the use of microarray screening with non-standard animal models, even though these species present fascinating physiological phenomena for study. The very high cost and huge amount of work involved in developing and producing a DNA array or microarray for a new species is prohibitive for most researchers working in comparative biology. The alternative is to explore the use of heterologous array hybridization, screening for stress-induced gene expression in one species using an array developed for another species. This chapter provides a comprehensive review of the current literature on heterologous DNA array hybridization and explores the factors that must be taken into account when performing heterologous microarray analysis on nonstandard species. Changes in methodology (e.g. hybridization conditions, stringency of washing) to optimize the percent cross reaction, the potential for false positives and false negatives to occur, and techniques for downstream analysis and confirmation of array data are all discussed. Examples of cross-hybridization using human microarrays are discussed using phylogenetically diverse species ranging from ground squirrels to frogs to snails. As with any new technology, the willingness to grasp cross-species analysis has been slow but the future looks bright for heterologous DNA hybridization and microarray analysis now that the initial hurdles have been overcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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