A Data-Adaptive Method for Analyzing RNA-Sequencing Data
NCTR scientists have developed a data-driven algorithm to better differentiate between high and low expressed genes in data derived from next-generation sequencing technologies (e.g., RNA-seq). RNA-seq has a large dynamic range and is prone to detect transcripts with low expression; however, there is debate about what level of abundance constitutes biologically meaningful expression due to random variation and experimental factors. Thus, methods to differentiate low and high expressed data in a sample are essential in distinguishing between meaningful and non-informative RNA-seq data. Methodologies that consider the underlying data structure demonstrate superior performance in preserving most of the interpretable and meaningful data. This study was recently published online at BMC Bioinformatics (2014, 15:92).
For additional information, please contact Ching-Wei Chang, Ph.D., Biostatistics Branch, Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, FDA/NCTR.
Comparison of Short-Term Memory in Human Children and Nonhuman Primates
Scientists from NCTR, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Hendrix College, and Lindenwood University-Belleville, showed that the rate of forgetting in nonhuman primates is more similar to that of younger children than to older children. The study compared performance of a delayed matching-to-sample task (a measure of short-term memory) of adult nonhuman primates to human children (4-14 years of age). These types of studies are necessary to determine the translatability of cognitive assessments across species in order to identify appropriate animal surrogates of important human brain functions for use in risk assessment. Such efforts are needed to improve the utilization of animal models to predict the effects of drugs and other chemicals on brain health and function in humans. A manuscript detailing this study is published in Behavioural Processes (2014, 103: 261-168).
For additional information, please contact John Chelonis, Ph.D., Division of Neurotoxicology, FDA/NCTR, or Merle Paule, Ph.D., Director, Division of Neurotoxicology, FDA/NCTR.
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