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Other Seminar Series



The efficiency of mRNA pooling in microarray experiments

Christina Kendziorski, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, UW-Madison

January 29, 2003, 4-5 p.m.

1221 Computer Sciences & Statistics Center
1210 W. Dayton St.


Microarray technologies are now widely used to gain insight into the genetic basis of many complex biological processes. Although quite powerful, arrays are relatively expensive and, as a result, replication is done at a minimum. Reducing replication can adversely affect estimation of gene expression and assessment of differential expression. To address these problems, mRNA samples are often pooled across subjects in an attempt to reduce subject to subject variability. Indeed, under some conditions, this can decrease measurement variability and in so doing reduce the number of replicates required. However, owing to array specific effects, pooling cannot eliminate the need for replication. Furthermore, if contaminated samples are present, pooling can lead to biased estimates of expression. I will discuss conditions under which it is advantageous to pool mRNA samples and present experimental designs which provide for optimal estimates using a minimum number of arrays. The impact of the designs on the assessment of differential expression will also be discussed.

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