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Gene selection methods aim at determining biologically relevant subsets of genes in DNA microarray experiments. However, their assessment and validation represent a major difficulty since the subset of biologically relevant genes is usually unknown. To solve this problem a novel procedure for generating biologically plausible synthetic gene expression data is proposed. It is based on a proper mathematical model representing gene expression signatures and expression profiles through Boolean threshold functions. The results show that the proposed procedure can be successfully adopted to analyze the quality of statistical and machine learning-based gene selection algorithms.