Microarrays are an example of the powerful high through-put genomics tools that are revolutionizing the measurement of biological systems. In this and other technologies, a number of critical steps are required to convert the raw measures into the data relied upon by biologists and clinicians. These data manipulations, referred to as preprocessing, have enormous influence on the quality of the ultimate measurements and studies that rely upon them. Many researchers have previously demonstrated that the use of modern statistical methodology can substantially improve accuracy and precision of gene expression measurements, relative to ad-hoc procedures introduced by designers and manufacturers of the technology. However, further substantial improvements are possible. Microarrays are now being used to measure diverse high genomic endpoints including yeast mutant representations, the presence of SNPs, presence of deletions/insertions, and protein binding sites by chromatin immunoprecipitation (known as ChIP-chip). In each case, the genomic units of measurement are relatively short DNA molecules referred to as probes. Without appropriate understanding of the bias and variance of these measurements, biological inferences based upon probe analysis will be compromised. Standard operating procedure for microarray researchers is to use preprocessed data as the starting point for the statistical analyses that produce reported results. This has prevented many researchers from carefully considering their choice of preprocessing methodology. Furthermore, the fact that the preprocessing step greatly affects the stochastic properties of the final statistical summaries is ignored. In this paper we propose a statistical framework that permits the integration of preprocessing into the standard statistical analysis flow of microarray data. We demonstrate its usefulness by applying the idea in three different applications of the technology.
Wu, Zhijin and Irizarry, Rafael A., "A Statistical Framework for the Analysis of Microarray Probe-Level Data" (March 2005). Johns Hopkins University, Dept. of Biostatistics Working Papers. Working Paper 73.