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Introduction to the Statistical Analysis of Microarray Data

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This lab activity explains in a hands-on fashion the use and analysis of data acquired by microarray experiments. Most modern biology textbooks introduce the technique and describe how it works, and what it is used for. To really understand the complexity and the power of microarray analysis students would ideally conduct and evaluate a microarray experiment themselves. The high cost and requirement for an array scanner makes it prohibitive for most undergraduate and many research institutions to incorporate a real microarray wet laboratory in undergraduate courses.

While microarray analysis software is freely available over the internet it often is complicated and requires time from both the instructor and student to become familiar with the program. This exercise uses (shortened) data files from real microarray experiments in the commonly used Microsoft Excel format. It introduces statistical tests and methods for analysis in the comprehensive, step-by-step lecture notes, and provides students with an exercise packet and review questions that can be used in a computer-lab setting to be completed in a typical 3-hour lab period.

The target audience is upper level undergraduate courses, such as Genetics, Molecular Biology, or any specialty course that emphasizes modern molecular tools and would like to use (only) one lab period to introduce bioinformatics tools.

The module consists of five files that can be freely downloaded and modified by the instructor as he or she sees fit:

"Introduction" gives an overview of microarry experimetns and introduces the statistical analysis.

"Stepwise guide" leads the student through the analysis.

"Microarray Data set" contains the raw data the students analyze.

"worksheet" is an excel worksheet in which the students enter and transform their data.

"Instructor Guide" contains recomendations for running the laboratory and solutions for the questions posed in the Stepwise guide.

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