Microarray technology is a powerful tool able to measure RNA expression for thousands of genes at once. Various studies have been published comparing competing platforms with mixed results: some find agreement, others do not. As the number of researchers starting to use microarrays and the number of crossplatform meta-analysis studies rapidly increase, appropriate platform assessments become more important.

Here we present results from a comparison study that offers important improvements over those previously described in the literature. In particular, we notice that none of the previously published papers consider differences between labs. For this paper, a consortium of ten labs from the Washington DC/Baltimore (USA) area was formed to compare three heavily used platforms using identical RNA samples: Appropriate statistical analysis demonstrates that relatively large differences exist between labs using the same platform, but that the results from the best performing labs agree rather well. Supplemental material is available from http://www.biostat.jhsph.edu/~ririzarr/techcomp/