Variance estimation in the analysis of microarray data

Yuedong Wang, Yanyuan Ma, Raymond J. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Microarrays are one of the most widely used high throughput technologies. One of the main problems in the area is that conventional estimates of the variances that are required in the t-statistic and other statistics are unreliable owing to the small number of replications. Various methods have been proposed in the literature to overcome this lack of degrees of freedom problem. In this context, it is commonly observed that the variance increases proportionally with the intensity level, which has led many researchers to assume that the variance is a function of the mean. Here we concentrate on estimation of the variance as a function of an unknown mean in two models: the constant coefficient of variation model and the quadratic variance-mean model. Because the means are unknown and estimated with few degrees of freedom, naive methods that use the sample mean in place of the true mean are generally biased because of the errors-in-variables phenomenon. We propose three methods for overcoming this bias. The first two are variations on the theme of the so-called heteroscedastic simulation-extrapolation estimator, modified to estimate the variance function consistently. The third class of estimators is entirely different, being based on semiparametric information calculations. Simulations show the power of our methods and their lack of bias compared with the naive method that ignores the measurement error. The methodology is illustrated by using microarray data from leukaemia patients.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-445
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B (Statistical Methodology)
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

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