|Riassunto in Inglese:|
DNA microarrays were introduced 14 years ago (Schena et al., 1995) and since then this technology has attracted great interest among biologists. It has the ability to simultaneously display the expression of thousands of genes at a time, thus it is a powerful tool for genetic analysis. It is currently being applied in the following broad areas: genomics such as sequence analysis, gene expression studies, gene typing, and large scale polymorphism screening; biomedical research of cancer, and infectious and genetic diseases; clinical diagnostics; and drug discovery and development. With the explosion of information arising from sequencing of plant viruses and viroids, Hadidi and Candresse (2001, 2003) predicted the simultaneous detection and identification of many plant viruses, viroids, and other plant pathogens by DNA microarrays. In this chapter we will discuss the scientific history and principle of microarrays, describe their types, and the steps needed for the design and implementation of a DNA microarrays experiment. We will also describe their current applications for the detection and identification of plant viruses, viroids, and phytoplasmas and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Other possible future technologies that may be utilized for the parallel detection of systemic plant pathogens will also be presented and discussed briefly.