Gene expression is a process that results in the synthesis of a functional gene product with the help of the information coded on genes. These products usually are proteins with respect to coding genes but in case of non-coding genes such as tRNA (transfer RNA), or RNA (ribosomal RNA), the functional product is a functional RNA. The process of gene expression is significant in both prokaryotes (bacteria) and eukaryotes (multicellular organisms) in order to ensure the generation of macromoleular machinery for their life. Gene expression comprises transcription and translation processes. Transcription (DNA to RNA) refers to production of RNA copies of DNA with the help of the enzyme RNA polymerase. While translation (RNA to protein) is a process that results in the synthesis of proteins based on the information on the coding genes (messenger RNA). There is a possibility of the alteration of several steps in gene expression process such as in RNA splicing, post-translational modification of proteins and others. Gene regulation is the basis for morphogenesis, cellular differentiation and versatility and renders cell control over structure and function of the genes.
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Gene expression profiling refers to the process of measuring the activity (expression) of several genes at once in to understand the cellular functions. This analysis can facilitate scientists to identify the molecular basis of phenotypic differences and also enables selection of gene expression targets for the future research studies. The various analysis techniques employed for gene expression are SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression), Real Time PCR-based gene expression profiling, microarray analysis, transcriptome sequencing and others. Gene expression reagents are the chemicals used in gene expression studies performed to determine the gene expression patterns. Sample preparation and isolation kits, sample labeling and amplification kits, TaqMan Gene Expression assay kits, gene expression hybridization kits and others are some of the examples of the commercially available gene expression reagents kits. Confirmation of appropriate gene expression is essential in order to ensure normal functioning of genes and any deviation from the normal expression pattern might result in the development of some disorder either genetic or acquired. Also, regulation of faulty gene expression inhibits the production of faulty functional products. For example, in case of cancer patients, RNA silencing is employed that includes the silencing of the cancerous gene expression.
The market for gene expression reagents can be analyzed on the basis of the reagents used in gene expression profiling along with application areas and geography. The reagents can be further segmented into the reagents used in PCR, Microarray, SAGE and others. The application areas that can be covered are drug discovery and research, biomarkers identification, clinical diagnostics and others. Geographically the market can be analyzed on the basis of four major regions namely North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and RoW.
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The major factors favoring the growth of the market are consistent technological advances, increased intensity of research and development activities and development of gene expression databases across the globe. In addition, increased investments and funding by the government for genetic research along with elevated awareness levels further propel the market growth. On the other hand, high instrumentation costs along with lack of technical expertise in this field would impede the growth of the market. Owing to several advantages and increasing preference for personalized medicine, the scope for growth and uptake of gene expression studies will also increase and in turn increase uptake of gene expression reagents. Affymetrix, Inc., Illumina, Inc., Qiagen N.V., Thermo Fisher Scientific (Life Technologies Corporation), Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. and Agilent Technologies are some of the companies competing in gene expression reagents market.