Background: The non-human primate (NHP) research community has been intensely interested in obtaining whole-genome expression arrays for their work. Recently, novel approaches were used to generate the DNA sequence information for a rhesus GeneChip. To test the reliability of the rhesus GeneChip across different centers, RNA was isolated from five sources: cerebral cortex, pancreas, thymus, testis, and an immortalized fibroblast cell line. Aliquots of this RNA were sent to each of three centers: Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Oregon National Primate Research Center and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Each center labeled the samples and hybridized them with two rhesus macaque GeneChips. In addition, rhesus samples were hybridzed with human GeneChips to compare with samples hybridized with the rhesus GeneChip. Results: The results indicate that center effects were minimal and the rhesus GeneChip appears highly reliable. To test the validity of the rhesus GeneChip, five of the most differentially expressed genes among tissues identified in the reliability experiments were chosen for analysis with Quantitative PCR. For all 5 genes, the qPCR and GeneChip results were in agreement with regard to differential expression between tissues. Significantly more probesets were called present when rhesus samples were hybridized with the rhesus GeneChip than when these same samples were hybridized with a human GeneChip. Conclusion: The rhesus GeneChip is both a reliable and a valid tool for examining gene expression and represents a significant improvement over the use of the human GeneChip for rhesus macaque gene expression studies.
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