Feb 23, 2015

Multiple hypothesis correction is vital and undermines reported mtDNA links to diseases including AIDS, cancer, and Huntingdon’s

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Iain G Johnston

Abstract

The ability to sequence mitochondrial genomes quickly and cheaply has led to an explosion in available mtDNA data. As a result, an expanding literature is exploring links between mtDNA features and susceptibility to, or prevalence of, a range of diseases. Unfortunately, this great technological power has not always been accompanied by great statistical responsibility. I will focus on one aspect of statistical analysis, multiple hypothesis correction, that is absolutely required, yet often absolutely ignored, for responsible interpretation of this literature. Many existing studies perform comparisons between incidences of a large number ( N ) of different mtDNA features and a given disease, reporting all those yielding p -values under 0.05 as significant links. But when many comparisons are performed, it is highly likely that several p -values under 0.05 will emerge, by chance, in the absence of any underlying link. A suitable correction (for example, Bonferroni correction, requiring p < 0.05/ N ) must therefore be employed to avoid reporting false positive results. The absence of such corrections means that there is good reason to believe that many links reported between mtDNA features and various diseases are false; a state of...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
DNA, Mitochondrial
Public Health Service
Disease Susceptibility
Nitrogen
Literature
Analysis
Calcaneal Apophysitis
Malignant Neoplasms
Mitochondrial DNA Location

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