Objectives: With the collection of articles presented in this special issue, we aim at educating interested statisticians and biometricians on the one hand as well as biologists and medical researchers on the other with respect to basic necessities in planning, conducting and analyzing microarray gene expression experiments. The reader should get comprehensive directions to understand both the overall structure of this approach as well as the decisive details, which enable - or thwart - a meaningful data analysis. Methods: For a one-day workshop with tutorial character we brought together experts in design, conduct and analysis of microarray gene expression experiments who prepared a series of comprehensive lessons. These contributions were then reworked into a series of introductory articles and bundled in form and content as a Special Topic. Results: It was possible to present a tutorial overview of the field. The interested reader was able to learn the basic necessities and was referred to further references for details on the possible alternatives. A recipe style all-embracing plan, covering all eventualities and possibilities was not only beyond the scope of an introductory tutorial-like presentation, but was also not yet agreed upon by the scientific society. Conclusions: It proved feasible to find a framework for integrating the interdisciplinary approaches to the challenging field of gene expression analysis with microarrays, hopefully contributing to a rapid and comprehensive introduction for novices.