DBNorm: Normalizing high-density oligonucleotide microarray data based on distributions

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Bioinformatics, 2017, 18 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Data from patients with rare diseases is often produced using different platforms and probe sets because patients are widely distributed in space and time. Aggregating such data requires a method of normalization that makes patient records comparable. Results: This paper proposed DBNorm, implemented as an R package, is an algorithm that normalizes arbitrarily distributed data to a common, comparable form. Specifically, DBNorm merges data distributions by fitting functions to each of them, and using the probability of each element drawn from the fitted distribution to merge it into a global distribution. DBNorm contains state-of-the-art fitting functions including Polynomial, Fourier and Gaussian distributions, and also allows users to define their own fitting functions if required. Conclusions: The performance of DBNorm is compared with z-score, average difference, quantile normalization and ComBat on a set of datasets, including several that are publically available. The performance of these normalization methods are compared using statistics, visualization, and classification when class labels are known based on a number of self-generated and public microarray datasets. The experimental results show that DBNorm achieves better normalization results than conventional methods. Finally, the approach has the potential to be applicable outside bioinformatics analysis.
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