README.md

quantro

Why use quantro?

Quantile normalization is one of the most widely used multi-sample normalization tools for the analysis of noisy high-throughput data. Although it was originally developed for gene expression microarrays it is now used across many different high-throughput applications including RNAseq and ChIPseq. However, quantile normalization relies on assumptions about the data generation process that are not appropriate in some context. Unfortunately, no method exists to check for the appropriateness of these assumptions.

For example in gene expression, we assume that observed differences between the distributions of each sample are due to only technical variation unrelated to biological variation. To normalize the samples, the distributions are forced to be the same. In general, this assumption is justified as only a minority of genes are expected to be differentially expressed between samples, but if the samples are expected to have a high percentage of global differences, it may not be appropriate to use quantile normalization as it may remove interesting global biological variation.

The quantro R-package can be used to test a priori to the data analysis whether global normalization methods such as quantile normalization should be applied. Our method uses the raw unprocessed high-throughput data to test for global differences in the distributions across a set of groups.

For help with the quantro R-package, there is a vignette available in the /vignettes folder.

Installation

The R-package quantro can be installed from the Bioconductor

if (!requireNamespace("BiocManager", quietly=TRUE))
    install.packages("BiocManager")
BiocManager::install("quantro")

After installation, the package can be loaded into R.

library(quantro)

Using quantro

The main function in the quantro package is quantro(). The quantro() function needs two objects: (1) a data frame containing the samples to test for differences between their distributions with observations (rows) and samples (columns) (e.g. let's call it mySamps) and (2) a group level factor called groupFactor (let's call it outcome). This order of this factor variable must match the order of the columns in the mySamps object because it contains information about which group each sample is from.

To run the quantro() function,

qtest <- quantro(object = mySamps, groupFactor = outcome)
qtest

Individual slots can be extracted using accessor methods:

summary(qtest)
quantroStat(qtest)

A permutation test is performed to assess the statistical significance of the test statistic quantroStat from quantro().

Elements in the output from quantro() include:

Element | Description --------|------------ summary | A list that contains (1) number of groups (nGroups), (2) total number of samples (nTotSamples) (3) number of samples in each group (nSamplesinGroups) anova | ANOVA to test if the average medians of the distributions are different across groups MSbetween | mean squared error between groups MSwithin | mean squared error within groups quantroStat | test statistic which is a ratio of the mean squared error between groups of distributions to the mean squared error within groups of distributions quantroStatPerm | If B is not equal to 0, then a permutation test was performed to assess the statistical significance of quantroStat. These are the test statistics resulting from the permuted samples quantroPvalPerm | If B is not equal to 0, then this is the $p$-value associated with the proportion of times the test statistics (quantroStatPerm) resulting from the permuted samples were larger than quantroStat

Visualizing the results from the permutation test

There is a second function in the package called quantroPlot() which will plot the results from the permutation testing. The plot is a histogram of the test statistics quantroStatPerm from the permuted samples from quantro() and the red line is the observed test statistic quantroStat from quantro().

qtest <- quantro(object = mySamps, groupFactor = outcome)
quantroPlot(qtest)

Additional options in the quantroPlot() function include:

Element | Description --------|------------- xLab | the x-axis label yLab | the y-axis label mainLab | title of the histogram binWidth | change the binwidth

Bug reports

Report bugs as issues on the GitHub repository

Contributors



stephaniehicks/quantro documentation built on Aug. 9, 2019, 5:10 p.m.