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Biotechniques. 2002 Jan;32(1):110, 112-4, 116, 118-9.

DNA array analysis in a Microsoft Windows environment.

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Department of Botany and Microbiology, The University of Oklahoma, Norman 73069-0245, USA.


Microsoft Windows-based computers have evolved to the point that they provide sufficient computational and visualization power for robust analysis of DNA array data. In fact, smaller laboratories might prefer to carry out some or all of their analyses and visualization in a Windows environment, rather than alternative platforms such as UNIX. We have developed a series of manually executed macros written in Visual Basic for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, that allows for rapid and comprehensive gene expression data analysis. The first macro assigns gene names to spots on the DNA array and normalizes individual hybridizations by expressing the signal intensity for each gene as a percentage of the sum of all gene intensities. The second macro streamlines statistical consideration of the confidence in individual gene measurements for sets of experimental replicates by calculating probability values with the Student's t test. The third macro introduces a threshold value, calculates expression ratios between experimental conditions, and calculates the standard deviation of the mean of the log ratio values. Selected columns of data are copied by a fourth macro to create a processed data set suitable for entry into a Microsoft Access database. An Access database structure is described that allows simple queries across multiple experiments and export of data into third-party data visualization software packages. These analysis tools can be used in their present form by others working with commercial E. coli membrane arrays, or they may be adapted for use with other systems. The Excel spreadsheets with embedded Visual Basic macros and detailed instructions for their use are available at

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