June 4, 2010

ParaSAM: a parallelized version of the significance analysis of microarrays algorithm

Filed under: Bioinformatics — Biointelligence: Education,Training & Consultancy Services @ 9:00 am
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Significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) is a widely used permutation-based approach to identifying differentially expressed genes in microarray datasets. While SAM is freely available as an Excel plug-in and as an R-package, analyses are often limited for large datasets due to very high memory requirements.

Summary: We have developed a parallelized version of the SAM algorithm called ParaSAM to overcome the memory limitations. This high performance multithreaded application provides the scientific community with an easy and manageable client-server Windows application with graphical user interface and does not require programming experience to run. The parallel nature of the application comes from the use of web services to perform the permutations. Our results indicate that ParaSAM is not only faster than the serial version, but also can analyze extremely large datasets that cannot be performed using existing implementations.

Availability:A web version open to the public is available at For local installations, both the windows and web implementations of ParaSAM are available for free at

FastEpistasis: a high performance computing solution for quantitative trait epistasis

Filed under: Bioinformatics — Biointelligence: Education,Training & Consultancy Services @ 7:44 am

Genome-wide association studies have become widely used tools to study effects of genetic variants on complex diseases. While it is of great interest to extend existing analysis methods by considering interaction effects between pairs of loci, the large number of possible tests presents a significant computational challenge. The number of computations is further multiplied in the study of gene expression quantitative trait mapping, in which tests are performed for thousands of gene phenotypes simultaneously.

Results: We present FastEpistasis, an efficient parallel solution extending the PLINK epistasis module, designed to test for epistasis effects when analyzing continuous phenotypes. Our results show that the algorithm scales with the number of processors and offers a reduction in computation time when several phenotypes are analyzed simultaneously. FastEpistasis is capable of testing the association of a continuous trait with all single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) pairs from 500 000 SNPs, totaling 125 billion tests, in a population of 5000 individuals in 29, 4 or 0.5 days using 8, 64 or 512 processors.

Availability: FastEpistasis is open source and available free of charge only for non-commercial users from