Assessing Gene Significance from cDNA Microarray Expression Data via Mixed Models
Progress in mapping the genome and developments in array technologies have provided large amounts of information for delineating the roles of genes involved in complex diseases and quantitative traits. Since complex phenotypes are determined by a network of interrelated biological traits typically involving multiple inter-correlated genetic and environmental factors that interact in a hierarchical fashion, microarrays hold tremendous latent information. The analysis of microarray data is, however, still a bottleneck. In this paper, we review the recent advances in statistical analyses for associating phenotypes with molecular events underpinning microarray experiments. Classical statistical procedures to analyze phenotypes in genetics are reviewed first, followed by descriptions of the statistical procedures for linking molecular events to measured gene expression phenotypes (microarray-based gene expression) and observed phenotypes such as diseases status. These statistical procedures include (1) prior analysis, such as data quality controls, and normalization analyses for minimizing the effects of experimental artifacts and random noise; (2) gene selections and differentiation procedures based on inferential statistics for the class comparisons; (3) dynamic temporal patterns analysis through exploratory statistics such as unsupervised clustering and supervised classification and predictions; (4) assessing the reliability of microarray studies using real-time PCR and the reproducibility issues from many studies and multiple platforms. In addition, the post analysis to associate the discovered patterns of gene expression to pathway and functional analysis for selected genes are also considered in order to increase our understanding of interconnected gene processes.