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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
With microarray technology becoming more prevalent in recent years, it is now common for several laboratories to employ the same microarray technology to identify differentially expressed genes that are related to the same phenomenon in the same species. Although experimental specifics may be similar, each laboratory will typically produce a slightly different list of statistically significant genes, which calls into question the validity of each gene list (i.e. which list is best). A statistically-based meta-analytic approach to microarray analysis systematically combines results from the different laboratories to provide a single estimate of the degree of differential expression for each gene. This approach provides a more precise view of genes that are of significant interest, while simultaneously allowing for differences between laboratories. The widely-used Affymetrix oligonucleotide array and its software are of particular interest because the results are naturally suited to a meta-analysis. A simulation model based on the Affymetrix platform is developed to examine the adaptive nature of the meta-analytic approach and to illustrate the utility of such an approach in combining microarray results across laboratories.