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Sci Rep. 2016 May 23;6:26454. doi: 10.1038/srep26454.

GBIQ: a non-arbitrary, non-biased method for quantification of fluorescent images.

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Mammalian Development Laboratory, National Institute of Genetics, Yata 1111, Mishima, Shizuoka 411-8540, Japan.


Non-arbitrary and non-biased quantification of fluorescent images is an essential tool for the data-centric approach to biological systems. Typical application is high-content analysis, where various phenotypic changes in cellular components and/or morphology are measured from fluorescent image data. A standard protocol to detect cellular phenotypes is cell-segmentation, in which boundaries of cellular components, such as cell nucleus and plasma membrane, are first identified to define cell segments, then acquiring various phenotypic data of each segment. To achieve reliable outcome, cell-segmentation requires manual adjustments of many parameters; this requirement could hamper automated image processing in high-throughput workflow, whose quantification must be non-arbitrary and non-biased. As a practical alternative to the segmentation-based method, we developed GBIQ (Grid Based Image Quantification), which allows comparison of cellular information without identification of single cells. GBIQ divides an image with tiles of fixed size grids and records statistics of the grids with their location coordinates, minimizing arbitrary intervenes. GBIQ requires only one parameter (size of grid) to be set; nonetheless it robustly produces results suitable for further statistical evaluation. The simplicity of GBIQ allows it to be readily implemented in an automated high-throughput image analysis workflow.

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