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Stat Appl Genet Mol Biol. 2012 Jan 21;11(1):Article 11. doi: 10.1515/1544-6115.1554.

The inheritance procedure: multiple testing of tree-structured hypotheses.

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Leiden University Medical Center.


Hypotheses tests in bioinformatics can often be set in a tree structure in a very natural way, e.g. when tests are performed at probe, gene, and chromosome level. Exploiting this graph structure in a multiple testing procedure may result in a gain in power or increased interpretability of the results.We present the inheritance procedure, a method of familywise error control for hypotheses structured in a tree. The method starts testing at the top of the tree, following up on those branches in which it finds significant results, and following up on leaf nodes in the neighborhood of those leaves. The method is a uniform improvement over a recently proposed method by Meinshausen. The inheritance procedure has been implemented in the globaltest package which is available on

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