Experimental design for three-color and four-color gene expression microarrays

Yong Woo, Winfried Krueger, Anupinder Kaur, Gary Churchill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Motivation: Three-color microarrays, compared with two-color microarrays, can increase design efficiency and power to detect differential expression without additional samples and arrays. Furthermore, three-color microarray technology is currently available at a reasonable cost. Despite the potential advantages, clear guidelines for designing and analyzing three-color experiments do not exist. Results: We propose a three- and a four-color cyclic design (loop) and a complementary graphical representation to help design experiments that are balanced, efficient and robust to hybridization failures. In theory, three-color loop designs are more efficient than two-color loop designs. Experiments using both two- and three-color platforms were performed in parallel and their outputs were analyzed using linear mixed model analysis in R/MAANOVA. These results demonstrate that three-color experiments using the same number of samples (and fewer arrays) will perform as efficiently as two-color experiments. The improved efficiency of the design is somewhat offset by a reduced dynamic range and increased variability in the three-color experimental system. This result suggests that, with minor technological improvements, three-color microarrays using loop designs could detect differential expression more efficiently than two-color loop designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)i459-i467
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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