Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Genome Biol. 2002;3(5):research0022. Epub 2002 Apr 22.

How many replicates of arrays are required to detect gene expression changes in microarray experiments? A mixture model approach.

Author information

  • 1Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware Street, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0378, USA. weip@biostat.umn.edu



It has been recognized that replicates of arrays (or spots) may be necessary for reliably detecting differentially expressed genes in microarray experiments. However, the often-asked question of how many replicates are required has barely been addressed in the literature. In general, the answer depends on several factors: a given magnitude of expression change, a desired statistical power (that is, probability) to detect it, a specified Type I error rate, and the statistical method being used to detect the change. Here, we discuss how to calculate the number of replicates in the context of applying a nonparametric statistical method, the normal mixture model approach, to detect changes in gene expression.


The methodology is applied to a data set containing expression levels of 1,176 genes in rats with and without pneumococcal middle-ear infection. We illustrate how to calculate the power functions for 2, 4, 6 and 8 replicates.


The proposed method is potentially useful in designing microarray experiments to discover differentially expressed genes. The same idea can be applied to other statistical methods.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (6)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk