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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

In situ analysis of cross-hybridisation on microarrays and the inference of expression correlation

Tineke Casneuf123, Yves Van de Peer12 and Wolfgang Huber3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium

2 Department of Molecular Genetics, Ghent University, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium

3 EMBL – European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge CB10 1SD, UK

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BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8:461  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-461

Published: 26 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Microarray co-expression signatures are an important tool for studying gene function and relations between genes. In addition to genuine biological co-expression, correlated signals can result from technical deficiencies like hybridization of reporters with off-target transcripts. An approach that is able to distinguish these factors permits the detection of more biologically relevant co-expression signatures.

Results

We demonstrate a positive relation between off-target reporter alignment strength and expression correlation in data from oligonucleotide genechips. Furthermore, we describe a method that allows the identification, from their expression data, of individual probe sets affected by off-target hybridization.

Conclusion

The effects of off-target hybridization on expression correlation coefficients can be substantial, and can be alleviated by more accurate mapping between microarray reporters and the target transcriptome. We recommend attention to the mapping for any microarray analysis of gene expression patterns.