On Contamination of Symbolic Datasets Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractData taking values on discrete sample spaces are the embodiment of modern biological research. “Omics” experiments produce millions of symbolic outcomes in the form of reads (i.e., DNA sequences of a few dozens to a few hundred nucleotides). Unfortunately, these intrinsically non-numerical datasets are often highly contaminated, and the possible sources of contamination are usually poorly characterized. This contrasts with numerical datasets where Gaussian-type noise is often well-justified. To overcome this hurdle, we introduce the notion of latent weight, which measures the largest expected fraction of samples from a contaminated probabilistic source that conform to a model in a well-structured class of desired models. We examine various properties of latent weights, which we specialize to the class of exchangeable probability distributions. As proof of concept, we analyze DNA methylation data from the 22 human autosome pairs. Contrary to what it is usually assumed, we provide strong evidence that highly specific methylation patterns are overrepresented at some genomic locations when contamination is taken into account.

publication date

  • February 13, 2020

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • November 6, 2020 6:13 AM

Full Author List

  • Pearson A; Lladser ME

author count

  • 2

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