Background: Microarray analysis has become a widely used technique for the study of gene-expression patterns on a genomic scale. As more and more laboratories are adopting microarray technology, there is a need for powerful and easy to use microarray databases facilitating array fabrication, labeling, hybridization, and data analysis. The wealth of data generated by this high throughput approach renders adequate database and analysis tools crucial for the pursuit of insights into the transcriptomic behavior of cells.
Results: MARS (Microarray Analysis and Retrieval System) provides a comprehensive MIAME supportive suite for storing, retrieving, and analyzing multi color microarray data. The system comprises a laboratory information management system (LIMS), a quality control management, as well as a sophisticated user management system. MARS is fully integrated into an analytical pipeline of microarray image analysis, normalization, gene expression clustering, and mapping of gene expression data onto biological pathways. The incorporation of ontologies and the use of MAGE-ML enables an export of studies stored in MARS to public repositories and other databases accepting these documents.
Conclusion: We have developed an integrated system tailored to serve the specific needs of microarray based research projects using a unique fusion of Web based and standalone applications connected to the latest J2EE application server technology. The presented system is freely available for academic and non-profit institutions. More information can be found at http://genome.tugraz.at.