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The Concordance between RNA-seq and Microarray Data Depends on Chemical Treatment And Transcript Abundance

Charles Wang, Binsheng Gong, Pierre R Bushel, Jean Thierry-Mieg, Danielle Thierry-Mieg, Joshua Xu, Hong Fang, Huixiao Hong, Jie Shen, Zhenqiang Su, Joe Meehan, Xiaojin Li, Lu Yang, Haiqing Li, Paweł P Łabaj, David P Kreil, Dalila Megherbi, Stan Gaj, Florian Caiment, Joost van Delft, Jos Kleinjans, Andreas Scherer, Viswanath Devanarayan, Jian Wang, Yong Yang, Hui-Rong Qian, Lee J Lancashire, Marina Bessarabova, Yuri Nikolsky, Cesare Furlanello, Marco Chierici, Davide Albanese, Giuseppe Jurman, Samantha Riccadonna, Michele Filosi, Roberto Visintainer, Ke K Zhang, Jianying Li, Jui-Hua Hsieh, Daniel L Svoboda, James C Fuscoe, Youping Deng, Leming Shi, Richard S Paules, Scott S Auerbach, and Weida Tong.
Nature Biotechnology (2014) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt.3001 PMID: 25150839



The concordance of RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) with microarrays for genome-wide analysis of differential gene expression has not been rigorously assessed using a range of chemical treatment conditions. Here we use a comprehensive study design to generate Illumina RNA-seq and Affymetrix microarray data from the same liver samples of rats exposed in triplicate to varying degrees of perturbation by 27 chemicals representing multiple modes of action (MOAs). The cross-platform concordance in terms of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) or enriched pathways is linearly correlated with treatment effect size (R2≈︀0.8). Furthermore, the concordance is also affected by transcript abundance and biological complexity of the MOA. RNA-seq outperforms microarray (93% versus 75%) in DEG verification as assessed by quantitative PCR, with the gain mainly due to its improved accuracy for low-abundance transcripts. Nonetheless, classifiers to predict MOAs perform similarly when developed using data from either platform. Therefore, the endpoint studied and its biological complexity, transcript abundance and the genomic application are important factors in transcriptomic research and for clinical and regulatory decision making.


Microarray Data

Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) Series: GSE47875, GSE55347

Sequence Read Archive Data

SRA: SRP039021