Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

A simple spreadsheet-based, MIAME-supportive format for microarray data: MAGE-TAB

Tim F Rayner1*, Philippe Rocca-Serra1, Paul T Spellman2, Helen C Causton3, Anna Farne1, Ele Holloway1, Rafael A Irizarry4, Junmin Liu5, Donald S Maier6, Michael Miller7, Kjell Petersen8, John Quackenbush9, Gavin Sherlock10, Christian J Stoeckert5, Joseph White9, Patricia L Whetzel5, Farrell Wymore6, Helen Parkinson1, Ugis Sarkans1, Catherine A Ball6 and Alvis Brazma1*

Author affiliations

1 European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK

2 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA

3 MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College Hammersmith Hospital Campus, London, UK

4 Department of Biostatistics, John Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

5 Center for Bioinformatics and Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

6 Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

7 Rosetta Biosoftware, Rosetta Inpharmatics, LLC, Seattle, USA

8 Bergen Center for Computational Science, Computational Biology Unit, University of Bergen, Norway

9 Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA

10 Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Bioinformatics 2006, 7:489  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-489

Published: 6 November 2006



Sharing of microarray data within the research community has been greatly facilitated by the development of the disclosure and communication standards MIAME and MAGE-ML by the MGED Society. However, the complexity of the MAGE-ML format has made its use impractical for laboratories lacking dedicated bioinformatics support.


We propose a simple tab-delimited, spreadsheet-based format, MAGE-TAB, which will become a part of the MAGE microarray data standard and can be used for annotating and communicating microarray data in a MIAME compliant fashion.


MAGE-TAB will enable laboratories without bioinformatics experience or support to manage, exchange and submit well-annotated microarray data in a standard format using a spreadsheet. The MAGE-TAB format is self-contained, and does not require an understanding of MAGE-ML or XML.