Critical Issues in the Processing of cDNA Microarray Images

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Virginia Tech

Microarray technology enables simultaneous gene expression level monitoring for thousands of genes. While this technology has now been recognized as a powerful and cost-effective tool for large-scale analysis, the many systematic sources of experimental variations introduce inherent errors in the extracted data. Data is gathered by processing scanned images of microarray slides. Therefore robust image processing is particularly important and has a large impact on downstream analysis. The processing of the scanned images can be subdivided in three phases: gridding, segmentation and data extraction. To measure the gene expression levels, the processing of cDNA microarray images must overcome a large set of issues in these three phases that motivates this study.

This study presents automatic gridding methods and compares their performances. Two segmentation techniques already used, the Seeded Region Growing Algorithm and the Mann-Whitney Test, are examined. We present limitations of these techniques. Finally, we studied the data extraction method used in MicroArray Suite (MS), a microarray analysis software, via synthetic images and explain its intricacies.

Mann-Whitney Test, Image Processing, Segmentation, Gene Expression, Data Extraction, Seeded Region Growing Algorithm, Automatic Gridding