Epistasis Blog

From the Computational Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (www.epistasis.org)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

An Independent Filter for Gene Set Testing Based on Spectral Enrichment

Our new paper on gene set enrichment analysis.

Frost HR, Li Z, Asselbergs FW, Moore JH. An Independent Filter for Gene Set Testing Based on Spectral Enrichment. IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform. 2015 Sep-Oct;12(5):1076-86. [PubMed] [IEEE]

Abstract

Gene set testing has become an indispensable tool for the analysis of high-dimensional genomic data. An important motivation for testing gene sets, rather than individual genomic variables, is to improve statistical power by reducing the number of tested hypotheses. Given the dramatic growth in common gene set collections, however, testing is often performed with nearly as many gene sets as underlying genomic variables. To address the challenge to statistical power posed by large gene set collections, we have developed spectral gene set filtering (SGSF), a novel technique for independent filtering of gene set collections prior to gene set testing. The SGSF method uses as a filter statistic the p-value measuring the statistical significance of the association between each gene set and the sample principal components (PCs), taking into account the significance of the associated eigenvalues. Because this filter statistic is independent of standard gene set test statistics under the null hypothesis but dependent under the alternative, the proportion of enriched gene sets is increased without impacting the type I error rate. As shown using simulated and real gene expression data, the SGSF algorithm accurately filters gene sets unrelated to the experimental outcome resulting in significantly
increased gene set testing power.

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