DNA arrays have become the preferred method for large-scale expression measurement. Such data are needed in view of the large amounts of sequence data available: expression levels in a number of different tissues or situations provide a first step toward functional characterisation of new entities revealed by DNA sequencing. Although the basic principle of measurement is in all cases based on hybridisation of a mixed probe derived from tissue RNA to large sets of DNA fragments representing many genes, a number of different forms of implementation of this principle are at hand. They are briefly described and compared, emphasizing the important issue of sensitivity and sample requirements and the accessibility of the methods to academic scientists. When these factors are taken into account, it appears that, contrary to a largely prevalent impression, the "best" approach is not necessarily always provided by the widely advertised glass microarrays or oligonucleotide chips.
Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.