Towards accurate estimation of the proportion of true null hypotheses in multiple testing

Shu-Dong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background

Biomedical researchers are now often faced with situations where it is necessary to test a large number of hypotheses simultaneously, eg, in comparative gene expression studies using high-throughput microarray technology. To properly control false positive errors the FDR (false discovery rate) approach has become widely used in multiple testing. The accurate estimation of FDR requires the proportion of true null hypotheses being accurately estimated. To date many methods for estimating this quantity have been proposed. Typically when a new method is introduced, some simulations are carried out to show the improved accuracy of the new method. However, the simulations are often very limited to covering only a few points in the parameter space.

Results

Here I have carried out extensive in silico experiments to compare some commonly used methods for estimating the proportion of true null hypotheses. The coverage of these simulations is unprecedented thorough over the parameter space compared to typical simulation studies in the literature. Thus this work enables us to draw conclusions globally as to the performance of these different methods. It was found that a very simple method gives the most accurate estimation in a dominantly large area of the parameter space. Given its simplicity and its overall superior accuracy I recommend its use as the first choice for estimating the proportion of true null hypotheses in multiple testing.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18874
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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