Use of molecular and genomic methodologies to study mammary gland biology has led to an increasingly reductionist approach and outlook. The mammary gland is regulated at the systemic level by the coordinated activity of a number of hormones. Thus study of systemic regulation is refractory to a functional genomic approach, whereas regulation at the mammary gland level is more practical. However, the mammary gland is a three-dimensional structure composed of different tissues, each comprised of multiple cell types with unique characteristics. As a result, evaluating gene expression in a sample of mammary tissue provides information regarding "average" expression across all cell types. A more complete understanding of mammary gland biology will result from isolation and evaluation of gene expression within specific cell types. Tools to accomplish this formidable task are increasingly available.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume , , 12.01, 2006
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