Biomarker genes of human skin-derived cells were identified by new simple bioinformatic methods and DNA microarray analysis utilizing in vitro cultures of normal neonatal human epidermal keratinocytes, melanocytes, and dermal fibroblasts. A survey of 4405 human cDNAs was performed using DermArray DNA microarrays. Biomarkers were rank ordered by "likelihood ratio" algorithms and stringent selection criteria that have general applicability for analyzing a minimum of three RNA samples. Signature biomarker genes (up-regulated in one cell type) and anti-signature biomarker genes (down-regulated in one cell type) were determined for the three major skin cell types. Many of the signature genes are known biomarkers for these cell types. In addition, 17 signature genes were identified as ESTs, and 22 anti-signature biomarkers were discovered. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to verify nine signature biomarker genes. A total of 158 biomarkers of normal human skin cells were identified, many of which may be valuable in diagnostic applications and as molecular targets for drug discovery and therapeutic intervention. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).