High density oligonucleotide probe arrays have increasingly become an important tool in genomics studies. In organisms with incomplete genome sequence, one strategy for oligo probe design is to reduce the number of unique probes that target every non-redundant transcript through bioinformatic analysis and experimental testing. Here we adopted this strategy in making oligo probes for the earthworm Eisenia fetida, a species for which we have sequenced transcriptomescale expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Our objectives were to identify unique transcripts as targets, to select an optimal and non-redundant oligo probe for each of these target ESTs, and to annotate the selected target sequences. We developed a streamlined and easy-to-follow approach to the design, validation and annotation of species-specific array probes. Four 244K-formatted oligo arrays were designed using eArray and were hybridized to a pooled E. fetida cRNA sample. We identified 63,541 probes with unsaturated signal intensities consistently above the background level. Target transcripts of these probes were annotated using several sequence alignment algorithms. Significant hits were obtained for 37,439 (59%) probed targets. We validated and made publicly available 63.5K oligo probes so the earthworm research community can use them to pursue ecological, toxicological, and other functional genomics questions. Our approach is efficient, costeffective and robust because it (1) does not require a major genomics core facility; (2) allows new probes to be easily added and old probes modified or eliminated when new sequence information becomes available, (3) is not bioinformaticsintensive upfront but does provide opportunities for more in-depth annotation of biological functions for target genes; and (4) if desired, EST orthologs to the UniGene clusters of a reference genome can be identified and selected in order to improve the target gene specificity of designed probes. This approach is particularly applicable to organisms with a wealth of EST sequences but unfinished genome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)