Unraveling the mysteries of germination using SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression)

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Pacey-Miller, T, White, JF, Crawford, AC, Bundock, PC, Cordeiro, GM, Barbary, D & Henry, RJ 2005, 'Unraveling the mysteries of germination using SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression)', paper presented to the 18th Northern American Barley Researchers Workshop and 4th Canadian Barley Symposium, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, 17-20 July.


The processes involved in malting are still somewhat a mystery on a genetic level. SAGE (Serial Analysis of Gene Expression) is a technique that allows rapid, detailed analysis of thousands of transcripts in a cell. The process of SAGE relies on two principles. Firstly, a small sequence of nucleotides from the transcript, called a “tag” can effectively identify the original transcript from whence it came. Secondly, linking these tags allows rapid sequencing analysis of multiple transcripts. By examining the transcripts expressed at any time in the cell it is possible to determine which genes and their related proteins are being expressed at that moment in time. In this study the gene expression profile of germinating (malting) barley is being examined at seven intervals over a time course of 120 hours post steeping. This will be compared to a baseline of dry ungerminated seed. The identification of genes for improved malting quality can be identified and examined using SAGE and ultimately used for commercial improvement.