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Microarrays: How Many Do You Need?


Zien,  A
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Zien, A., Fluck J, Zimmer, R., & Lengauer, T. (2002). Microarrays: How Many Do You Need? Proceedings of the Sixth Annual International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB 2002), 321-330.

We estimate the number of microarrays that is required in order to gain reliable results from a common type of study: the pairwise comparison of different classes of samples. Current knowlegde seems to suffice for the construction of models that are realistic with respect to searches for individual differentially expressed genes. Such models allow to investigate the dependence of the required number of samples on the relevant parameters: the biological variability of the samples within each class; the fold changes in expression; the detection sensitivity of the microarrays; and the acceptable error rates of the results. We supply experimentalists with general conclusions as well as a freely accessible Java applet at for fine tuning simulations to their particular actualities. Since the situation can be assumed to be very similar for large scale proteomics and metabolomics studies, our methods and results might also apply there.