An understanding of the genes and signaling networks responsible for stem cell growth and differentiation will be essential for their ultimate therapeutic application. GeneChips are miniature platforms of nucleotides capable of monitoring the expression levels of almost every known and unknown gene. Performing a GeneChip experiment is like snapping a picture of a cell's mRNA (transcripts), thus giving a static view and measurement of gene expression inside the cell. Taking multiple "pictures" of stem cells as they grow and differentiate will provide insight into the genetic mechanisms of "stemness" or can be used to create "transcriptional signatures" to assess differentiation and variability between stem cell lines. The first half of this chapter covers the many components involved in a GeneChip experiment, illustrating the many variables at each step and describing a protocol for analysis that is inexpensive and requires minimal computer skills. The chapter then describes how researchers are currently applying GeneChips to stem cell biology. We conclude that the true potential of GeneChip technology lies in the in silico analysis-their integration and comparison of diverse data sets, where the biological questions are the driving force in the analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology