Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China
JOURNAL OF RAILWAY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
|Vol. 18 No. 6 December 2008|
（Institute for Environmental Genomics, Department of Botany and Microbiology,
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA）
Abstract:Functional gene markers can provide important information about functional gene diversity and potential activity of microbial communities. Although microarray technology has been successfully applied to study gene expression for pure cultures, simple, and artificial microbial communities, adapting such a technology to analyze complex microbial communities still presents a lot of challenges in terms of design, sample preparation, and data analysis. This work is focused on the development and application of functional gene arrays (FGAs) to target key functional gene markers for microbial community studies. A few key issues specifically related to FGAs, such as oligonucleotide probe design, nucleic acid extraction and purification, data analysis, specificity, sensitivity, and quantitative capability are discussed in detail. Recent studies have demonstrated that FGAs can provide specific, sensitive, and potentially quantitative information about microbial communities from a variety of natural environments and controlled ecosystems. This technology is expected to revolutionize the analysis of microbial communities, and link microbial structure to ecosystem functioning.
Key words: microarray; application; function gene marker; microbial community