Differential expression analysis for sequence count data via mixtures of negative binomials

by Elisabetta and#60;1987and#62 Bonafede

Institution: Università di Bologna
Year: 2015
Keywords: SECS-S/01 Statistica
Record ID: 1224593
Full text PDF: http://amsdottorato.unibo.it/6741/1/bonafede_elisabetta_tesi.pdf


The recent advent of Next-generation sequencing technologies has revolutionized the way of analyzing the genome. This innovation allows to get deeper information at a lower cost and in less time, and provides data that are discrete measurements. One of the most important applications with these data is the differential analysis, that is investigating if one gene exhibit a different expression level in correspondence of two (or more) biological conditions (such as disease states, treatments received and so on). As for the statistical analysis, the final aim will be statistical testing and for modeling these data the Negative Binomial distribution is considered the most adequate one especially because it allows for "over dispersion". However, the estimation of the dispersion parameter is a very delicate issue because few information are usually available for estimating it. Many strategies have been proposed, but they often result in procedures based on plug-in estimates, and in this thesis we show that this discrepancy between the estimation and the testing framework can lead to uncontrolled first-type errors. We propose a mixture model that allows each gene to share information with other genes that exhibit similar variability. Afterwards, three consistent statistical tests are developed for differential expression analysis. We show that the proposed method improves the sensitivity of detecting differentially expressed genes with respect to the common procedures, since it is the best one in reaching the nominal value for the first-type error, while keeping elevate power. The method is finally illustrated on prostate cancer RNA-seq data.