Background: Numerous DNA microarray hybridization experiments have been performed in yeast over the last years using either synthetic oligonucleotides or PCR-amplified coding sequences as probes. The design and quality of the microarray probes are of critical importance for hybridization experiments as well as subsequent analysis of the data.
Results: We present here a novel design of Saccharomyces cerevisiae microarrays based on a refined annotation of the genome and with the aim of reducing cross-hybridization between related sequences. An effort was made to design probes of similar lengths, preferably located in the 3'-end of reading frames. The sequence of each gene was compared against the entire yeast genome and optimal sub-segments giving no predicted cross-hybridization were selected. A total of 5660 novel probes (more than 97% of the yeast genes) were designed. For the remaining 143 genes, cross-hybridization was unavoidable. Using a set of 18 deletant strains, we have experimentally validated our cross-hybridization procedure. Sensitivity, reproducibility and dynamic range of these new microarrays have been measured. Based on this experience, we have written a novel program to design long oligonucleotides for microarray hybridizations of complete genome sequences.
Conclusions: A validated procedure to predict cross-hybridization in microarray probe design was defined in this work. Subsequently, a novel Saccharomyces cerevisiae microarray (which minimizes cross-hybridization) was designed and constructed. Arrays are available at Eurogentec S. A. Finally, we propose a novel design program, OliD, which allows automatic oligonucleotide design for microarrays. The OliD program is available from authors.