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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2007 / 11 

Affymetrix exon arrays reveal complexity of the human transcriptome

November 12, 2007

The Core Laboratory Facility (CLF) at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech has been using the new Affymetrix Human Exon Arrays to probe the complexity of the human transcriptome.

Rick Jensen, director of the Core Laboratory Facility, presented results at the recent "Joint EMBL/Affymetrix Workshop on Transcriptome Data Analysis". This international workshop, which was organized by Vladimir Benes from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Wieland Keilholz from Affymetrix, was held at EMBL’s main laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, Sept. 17-20.

The Affymetrix Human Exon Arrays processed by Adam Jerauld, Kristal Cooper, and Clive Evans in the CLF, looked in detail at exon-level expression differences in the Microarray Quality Control (MAQC) RNA reference A and B samples. This study provided some of the most dramatic examples of differentially expressed gene transcript variants found in human tissues.

Rick Jensen commented: “The exon level data provided by the Affymetrix Exon Arrays reveal that the human transcriptome is vastly more complex than the mRNA sequences spanned by the known genes. This has important implications for researchers looking to use microarrays to probe the make-up of the human transcriptome.”

Vladimir Benes of the EMBL, co-organizer of the workshop, commented: “Rick Jensen is well known by the scientific community for his contribution to the MicroArray Quality Control project and we were delighted to welcome him as one of the invited speakers at the workshop. We realize that not all researchers are aware of the available tools to tackle exon array data. The main motivation behind organizing these joint EMBL/Affymetrix workshops is to introduce the scientific community to both commercial as well as academic tools available for the analysis of exon array data. By providing an opportunity for interaction with leading experts that develop and use these tools, users are more confident to explore the possibilities Affymetrix exon arrays can offer."

Wieland Keilholz, Support Scientist at Affymetrix remarked: “Affymetrix Exon Arrays provide the industry’s most detailed view of gene expression, enabling researchers to dig much deeper into transcript variation in order to discover novel mRNA expression and alternative splicing events. It was previously impossible to observe exon-level activity using traditional 3'-based expression arrays.”