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The impact of measurement errors in the identification of regulatory networks

Author(s): Fujita André | Patriota Alexandre | Sato João | Miyano Satoru

Journal: BMC Bioinformatics
ISSN 1471-2105

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 412;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Abstract Background There are several studies in the literature depicting measurement error in gene expression data and also, several others about regulatory network models. However, only a little fraction describes a combination of measurement error in mathematical regulatory networks and shows how to identify these networks under different rates of noise. Results This article investigates the effects of measurement error on the estimation of the parameters in regulatory networks. Simulation studies indicate that, in both time series (dependent) and non-time series (independent) data, the measurement error strongly affects the estimated parameters of the regulatory network models, biasing them as predicted by the theory. Moreover, when testing the parameters of the regulatory network models, p-values computed by ignoring the measurement error are not reliable, since the rate of false positives are not controlled under the null hypothesis. In order to overcome these problems, we present an improved version of the Ordinary Least Square estimator in independent (regression models) and dependent (autoregressive models) data when the variables are subject to noises. Moreover, measurement error estimation procedures for microarrays are also described. Simulation results also show that both corrected methods perform better than the standard ones (i.e., ignoring measurement error). The proposed methodologies are illustrated using microarray data from lung cancer patients and mouse liver time series data. Conclusions Measurement error dangerously affects the identification of regulatory network models, thus, they must be reduced or taken into account in order to avoid erroneous conclusions. This could be one of the reasons for high biological false positive rates identified in actual regulatory network models.
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