Assessing and selecting gene expression signals based upon the quality of the measured dynamics

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Background: One of the challenges with modeling the temporal progression of biological signals is dealing with the effect of noise and the limited number of replicates at each time point. Given the rising interest in utilizing predictive mathematical models to describe the biological response of an organism or analysis such as clustering and gene ontology enrichment, it is important to determine whether the dynamic progression of the data has been accurately captured despite the limited number of replicates, such that one can have confidence that the results of the analysis are capturing important salient dynamic features. Results: By pre-selecting genes based upon quality before the identification of differential expression via algorithm such as EDGE, it was found that the percentage of statistically enriched ontologies (p < .05) was improved. Furthermore, it was found that a majority of the genes found via the proposed technique were also selected via an EDGE selection though the reverse was not necessarily true. It was also found that improvements offered by the proposed algorithm are anti-correlated with improvements in the various microarray platforms and the number of replicates. This is illustrated by the fact that newer arrays and experiments with more replicates show less improvement when the filtering for quality is first run before the selection of differentially expressed genes. This suggests that the increase in the number of replicates as well as improvements in array technologies are increase the confidence one has in the dynamics obtained from the experiment. Conclusion: We have developed an algorithm that quantifies the quality of temporal biological signal rather than whether the signal illustrates a significant change over the experimental time course. Because the use of these temporal signals, whether it is in mathematical modeling or clustering, focuses upon the entire time series, it is necessary to develop a method to quantify and select for signals which conform to this ideal. By doing this, we have demonstrated a marked and consistent improvement in the results of a clustering exercise over multiple experiments, microarray platforms, and experimental designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
StatePublished - Feb 10 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics

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