Microarrays in ecology and evolution: a preview


Greg Gibson. Fax: (919) 515 3355; E-mail: ggibson@unity.ncsu.edu


Microarray technology provides a new tool with which molecular ecologists and evolutionary biologists can survey genome-wide patterns of gene expression within and among species. New analytical approaches based on analysis of variance will allow quantification of the contributions of among individual variation, genotype, sex, microenvironment, population structure, and geography to variation in gene expression. Applications of this methodology are reviewed in relation to studies of mechanisms of adaptation and divergence; delineation of developmental and physiological pathways and networks; characterization of quantitative genetic parameters at the level of transcription (‘quantitative genomics’); molecular dissection of parasitism and symbiosis; and studies of the diversification of gene content. Establishment of microarray resources is neither prohibitively expensive nor technologically demanding, and a commitment to development of gene expression profiling methods for nonmodel organisms could have a tremendous impact on molecular and genetic research at the interface of organismal and population biology.