Large-scale systematic gene expression analyses of early embryos and stem cells provide useful information to identify genes expressed differentially or uniquely in these cells. We review the current status of various approaches applied to preimplantation embryos and stem cells: expressed sequence tag, serial analysis of gene expression, differential display, massively parallel signature sequencing, DNA microarray (DNA chip) analysis, and chromatin-immunoprecipitation microarrays. We also discuss the biological questions that can only be addressed by the analysis of global gene expression patterns, such as so-called stemness and developmental potency. As the emphasis now shifts from expression profiling to functional studies, we review the genome-scale functional studies of genes: expression cloning, gene trapping, RNA interference, and gene disruptions. Finally, we discuss the future clinical application of such methodologies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas