This article gives an overview over the methods used in the low--level analysis of gene expression data generated using DNA microarrays. This type of experiment allows to determine relative levels of nucleic acid abundance in a set of tissues or cell populations for thousands of transcripts or loci simultaneously. Careful statistical design and analysis are essential to improve the efficiency and reliability of microarray experiments throughout the data acquisition and analysis process. This includes the design of probes, the experimental design, the image analysis of microarray scanned images, the normalization of fluorescence intensities, the assessment of the quality of microarray data and incorporation of quality information in subsequent analyses, the combination of information across arrays and across sets of experiments, the discovery and recognition of patterns in expression at the single gene and multiple gene levels, and the assessment of significance of these findings, considering the fact that there is a lot of noise and thus random features in the data. For all of these components, access to a flexible and efficient statistical computing environment is an essential aspect.


Bioinformatics | Computational Biology