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MicroSAGE is highly representative and reproducible but reveals major differences in gene expression among samples obtained from similar tissues

Seth Blackshaw1, Winston P Kuo234, Peter J Park2, Motokazu Tsujikawa5, Jenny M Gunnersen6, Hamish S Scott6, Wee-Ming Boon6, Seong-Seng Tan6 and Constance L Cepko1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

2 Children's Hospital Informatics Program, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

3 Decision Systems Group, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA

4 Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

5 Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School/MEEI, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA

6 Brain Development Laboratory, Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia

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Genome Biology 2003, 4:R17  doi:10.1186/gb-2003-4-3-r17

Published: 18 February 2003



Serial analysis of gene expression using small amounts of starting material (microSAGE) has not yet been conclusively shown to be representative, reproducible or accurate.


We show that microSAGE is highly representative, reproducible and accurate, but that pronounced differences in gene expression are seen between tissue samples taken from different individuals.


MicroSAGE is a reliable method of comprehensively profiling differences in gene expression among samples, but care should be taken in generalizing results obtained from libraries constructed from tissue obtained from different individuals and/or processed or stored differently.