MIAME addresses all parts of a microarray gene expression experiment and the goal of the developers '... is to establish a standard for recording and reporting micro-array gene expression data which will in turn facilitate the establishment of databases and public repositories and enable the development of analysis tools'. The draft standard was published in 2001 (Brazma et al., 2001) and has been widely adopted by data producers and array and software manufacturers. It should be noted that while MIAME addresses what should be reported about a microarray experiment it makes no recommendations about what format data should be stored or exchanged in.
MIAME divides a microarray experiment into six component parts: experiment, sample, hybridization, array, data and normalization. This is represented schematically in Figure 5.1. MIAME makes recommendations about what information should be provided, if data are made public. Some relevant information is contained in existing resources, such as those relating to the sequences of reporters (probes) on the array, publication details and certain sample data; for some of these it is considered sufficient to reference existing resources. These are shown in Figure 5.1.
Some of the important MIAME terms have specific meanings that may differ from those commonly used in the laboratory. (A full glossary for MIAME and MAGE-OM can be found at http://www.mged.org/Workgroups/MIAME/miame_glossary.html).
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