- Salvaging Affymetrix probes after probe-level re-annotation
- BMC Research Notes
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Background: Affymetrix GeneChips can be re-annotated at the probe-level by breaking up the original probe-sets and recomposing new probe-sets based on up-to-date genomic knowledge, such as available in Entrez Gene. This results in custom Chip Description Files (CDF). Using these custom CDFs improves the quality of the data and thus the results of related gene expression studies. However, 44-71% of the probes on a GeneChip are lost in this re-annotation process. Although generally aimed at less known genes, losing these probes obviously means a substantial loss of expensive experiment data. Biologists are therefore very reluctant to adopt this approach.
Findings: We aimed to re-introduce the non-affected Affymetrix probe-sets after these re-annotation procedures. For this, we developed an algorithm (CDF-Merger) and applied it to standard Affymetrix CDFs and custom Brainarray CDFs to obtain Hybrid CDFs. Thus, salvaging lost Affymetrix probes with our CDF-Merger restored probe content up to 94%. Because the salvaged probes (up to 54% of the probe content on the arrays) represent less-reliable probe-sets, we made the origin of all probe-set definitions traceable, so biologists can choose at any time in their analyses, which subset of probe-sets they want to use.
Conclusion: The availability of up-to-date Hybrid CDFs plus R environment allows for easy implementation of our approach.
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