Influence of microarrays experiments missing values on the stability of gene groups by hierarchical clustering

Alexandre G de Brevern, Serge Hazout, Alain Malpertuy
BMC Bioinformatics 2004 August 23, 5: 114

BACKGROUND: Microarray technologies produced large amount of data. The hierarchical clustering is commonly used to identify clusters of co-expressed genes. However, microarray datasets often contain missing values (MVs) representing a major drawback for the use of the clustering methods. Usually the MVs are not treated, or replaced by zero or estimated by the k-Nearest Neighbor (kNN) approach. The topic of the paper is to study the stability of gene clusters, defined by various hierarchical clustering algorithms, of microarrays experiments including or not MVs.

RESULTS: In this study, we show that the MVs have important effects on the stability of the gene clusters. Moreover, the magnitude of the gene misallocations is depending on the aggregation algorithm. The most appropriate aggregation methods (e.g. complete-linkage and Ward) are highly sensitive to MVs, and surprisingly, for a very tiny proportion of MVs (e.g. 1%). In most of the case, the MVs must be replaced by expected values. The MVs replacement by the kNN approach clearly improves the identification of co-expressed gene clusters. Nevertheless, we observe that kNN approach is less suitable for the extreme values of gene expression.

CONCLUSION: The presence of MVs (even at a low rate) is a major factor of gene cluster instability. In addition, the impact depends on the hierarchical clustering algorithm used. Some methods should be used carefully. Nevertheless, the kNN approach constitutes one efficient method for restoring the missing expression gene values, with a low error level. Our study highlights the need of statistical treatments in microarray data to avoid misinterpretation.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"