Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genomics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Characterization of a newly developed chicken 44K Agilent microarray

Xianyao Li1, Hsin-I Chiang1, James Zhu12, Scot E Dowd3 and Huaijun Zhou1*

Author Affiliations

1 Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

2 USDA Agriculture Research Service Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Orient Point, NY, USA

3 USDA Agriculture Research Service, Livestock Issues Research Unit, Lubbock, TX, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2008, 9:60  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-60

Published: 31 January 2008



The development of microarray technology has greatly enhanced our ability to evaluate gene expression. In theory, the expression of all genes in a given organism can be monitored simultaneously. Sequencing of the chicken genome has provided the crucial information for the design of a comprehensive chicken transcriptome microarray. A long oligonucleotide microarray has been manually curated and designed by our group and manufactured using Agilent inkjet technology. This provides a flexible and powerful platform with high sensitivity and specificity for gene expression studies.


A chicken 60-mer oligonucleotide microarray consisting of 42,034 features including the entire Marek's disease virus, two avian influenza virus (H5N2 and H5N3), and 150 chicken microRNAs has been designed and tested. In an important validation study, total RNA isolated from four major chicken tissues: cecal tonsil (C), ileum (I), liver (L), and spleen (S) were used for comparative hybridizations. More than 95% of spots had high signal noise ratio (SNR > 10). There were 2886, 2660, 358, 3208, 3355, and 3710 genes differentially expressed between liver and spleen, spleen and cecal tonsil, cecal tonsil and ileum, liver and cecal tonsil, liver and ileum, spleen and ileum (P < 10-7), respectively. There were a number of tissue-selective genes for cecal tonsil, ileum, liver, and spleen identified (95, 71, 535, and 108, respectively; P < 10-7). Another highlight of these data revealed that the antimicrobial peptides GAL1, GAL2, GAL6 and GAL7 were highly expressed in the spleen compared to other tissues tested.


A chicken 60-mer oligonucleotide 44K microarray was designed and validated in a comprehensive survey of gene expression in diverse tissues. The results of these tissue expression analyses have demonstrated that this microarray has high specificity and sensitivity, and will be a useful tool for chicken functional genomics. Novel data on the expression of putative tissue specific genes and antimicrobial peptides is highlighted as part of this comprehensive microarray validation study. The information for accessing and ordering this 44K chicken array can be found at webcite