The Power Decoder Simulator for the Evaluation of Pooled shRNA Screen Performance
Poster Apr 06, 2015
Jesse Stombaugh, Abel Licon, Žaklina Strezoska, Joshua Stahl, Sarah Bael Anderson, Michael Banos, Anja van Brabant Smith, Amanda Birmingham, Annaleen Vermeulen
RNA interference (RNAi) screening using pooled, short hairpin (sh)RNA is a powerful,
high-throughput tool for determining the biological relevance of genes for a phenotype. Assessing an shRNA pooled screen’s performance is difficult in practice; one can estimate the performance only by using reproducibility as a proxy for power or by employing a large number of validated positive and negative controls. Here, we develop an open-source software tool, the Power Decoder simulator, for generating shRNA pooled screening experiments in silico that can be used to estimate a screen’s statistical power. Using the negative binomial distribution, it models both the relative abundance of multiple shRNAs within a single screening replicate and the biological noise between replicates for each individual shRNA. We demonstrate that this simulator can successfully model the data from an actual laboratory experiment. We then use it to evaluate the effects of biological replicates and sequencing counts on the performance of a pooled screen, without the necessity of gathering additional data. The Power Decoder simulator is written in R and Python, and is available for download under the GNU General Public License v3.0.