DNA microarrays enable researchers to monitor the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously. However, the current technology has several limitations. Here we discuss problems related to the sensitivity, accuracy, specificity and reproducibility of microarray results. The existing data suggest that for relatively abundant transcripts the existence and direction (but not the magnitude) of expression changes can be reliably detected. However, accurate measurements of absolute expression levels and the reliable detection of low abundance genes are difficult to achieve. The main problems seem to be the sub-optimal design or choice of probes and some incorrect probe annotations. Well-designed data-analysis approaches can rectify some of these problems.