Bud break in raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) is often poor and uneven, with many of the subapical buds remaining in a dormant state. In order to determine the dormancy status of raspberry buds, an empirical measure of bud burst in a growth-permissive environment following exposure to chilling (4 C cold storage) was developed. For cv. Glen Ample, percentage bud burst in intact canes and isolated nodes was recorded after 14 d. Isolated nodes (a measure of endodormancy) achieved 100% bud burst after ;1500 h chilling whereas buds on intact plants (combined endo- and paradormancy) required an additional 1000 h chilling. A microarray approach was used to follow changes in gene expression that occurred during dormancy transition. The probes for the microarrays were obtained from endodormant and paradormant raspberry bud cDNA libraries. The expression profiles of 5300 clones from these libraries were subjected to principal component analysis to determine the most significant expression patterns. Sequence analysis of these clones, in many cases, enabled their functional categorization and the development of hypotheses concerning the mechanisms of bud dormancy release. Thus a set of novel candidates for key dormancy-related genes from raspberry buds have been identified. Bud dormancy is fundamental to the study of plant developmental processes and, in addition, its regulation is of significant economic importance to fruit and horticultural industries.