The availability of sequenced genomes of human and many experimental animals necessitated the development of new technologies and powerful computational tools that are capable of exploiting these genomic data and ask intriguing questions about complex nature of biological processes. This gave impetus for developing whole genome approaches that can produce functional information of genes in the form of expression profiles and unscramble the relationships between variation in gene expression and the resulting physiological outcome. These profiles represent genetic fingerprints or catalogue of genes that characterize the cell or tissue being studied and provide a basis from which to begin an investigation of the underlying biology. Among the most powerful and versatile tools are high-density DNA microarrays to analyze the expression patterns of large numbers of genes across different tissues or within the same tissue under a variety of experimental conditions or even between species. The wide spread use of microarray technologies is generating large sets of data that is stimulating the development of better analytical tools so that functions can be predicted for novel genes. In this review, the authors discuss how these profiles are being used at various stages of the drug discovery process and help in the identification of new drug targets, predict the function of novel genes, and understand individual variability in response to drugs.
Keywords: Expression profiling, microarray analysis, toxicogenomics, pharmacogenomics, biomarkers
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