Improved Statistical Methods Enable Greater Sensitivity in Rhythm Detection for Genome-Wide Data

Alan L. Hutchison, Mark Maienschein-Cline, Andrew H. Chiang, S. M.Ali Tabei, Herman Gudjonson, Neil Bahroos, Ravi Allada, Aaron R. Dinner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Robust methods for identifying patterns of expression in genome-wide data are important for generating hypotheses regarding gene function. To this end, several analytic methods have been developed for detecting periodic patterns. We improve one such method, JTK_CYCLE, by explicitly calculating the null distribution such that it accounts for multiple hypothesis testing and by including non-sinusoidal reference waveforms. We term this method empirical JTK_CYCLE with asymmetry search, and we compare its performance to JTK_CYCLE with Bonferroni and Benjamini-Hochberg multiple hypothesis testing correction, as well as to five other methods: cyclohedron test, address reduction, stable persistence, ANOVA, and F24. We find that ANOVA, F24, and JTK_CYCLE consistently outperform the other three methods when data are limited and noisy; empirical JTK_CYCLE with asymmetry search gives the greatest sensitivity while controlling for the false discovery rate. Our analysis also provides insight into experimental design and we find that, for a fixed number of samples, better sensitivity and specificity are achieved with higher numbers of replicates than with higher sampling density. Application of the methods to detecting circadian rhythms in a metadataset of microarrays that quantify time-dependent gene expression in whole heads of Drosophila melanogaster reveals annotations that are enriched among genes with highly asymmetric waveforms. These include a wide range of oxidation reduction and metabolic genes, as well as genes with transcripts that have multiple splice forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1004094
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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