Exploring gene expression profiles in germinating barley
Watson, L, Holton, TA & Henry, RJ 2002, 'Exploring gene expression profiles in germinating barley', paper presented to the Plant, Animal and Microbe Genomes X Conference, San Diego, California, USA, 12-16 January.
Germination rate plays an important role in determining the malt quality of barley. The current research uses microarray analysis to examine gene expression in germinating barley and determine genetic components controlling germination. While the biochemical and physiological characteristics of barley germination and malting have been studied for many years, a molecular description of the processes involved remains to be fully explored. Microarray technology has the potential to revolutionise the biological sciences by providing a means of concurrently extracting vast quantities of genetic information from complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries. The technique is being used to compare (a) gene expression levels at different time points during germination; (b) gene expression variations between different malting barley varieties, and; (c) gene expression variations between malting and feed quality varieties of barley. The malting variety "Alexis" was chosen to provide messenger RNA (mRNA) for library construction since it was shown to have an "average" growth habit and malting characteristics. In the past, one of the major research limitations imposed on the genetic examination of barley has been the need to focus on a small number of genes and proteins at any one time. By utilising microarray analysis, it is now possible to concurrently examine the entire gene expression profile and provide a watershed of data for future research.