Title: A Comprehensive Survey of Statistical Approaches for Differential Expression Analysis in Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Studies.
Authors: Das, Samarendra; Rai, Anil; Merchant, Michael L; Cave, Matthew C; Rai, Shesh N
Published In Genes (Basel), (2021 12 02)
Abstract: Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) is a recent high-throughput sequencing technique for studying gene expressions at the cell level. Differential Expression (DE) analysis is a major downstream analysis of scRNA-seq data. DE analysis the in presence of noises from different sources remains a key challenge in scRNA-seq. Earlier practices for addressing this involved borrowing methods from bulk RNA-seq, which are based on non-zero differences in average expressions of genes across cell populations. Later, several methods specifically designed for scRNA-seq were developed. To provide guidance on choosing an appropriate tool or developing a new one, it is necessary to comprehensively study the performance of DE analysis methods. Here, we provide a review and classification of different DE approaches adapted from bulk RNA-seq practice as well as those specifically designed for scRNA-seq. We also evaluate the performance of 19 widely used methods in terms of 13 performance metrics on 11 real scRNA-seq datasets. Our findings suggest that some bulk RNA-seq methods are quite competitive with the single-cell methods and their performance depends on the underlying models, DE test statistic(s), and data characteristics. Further, it is difficult to obtain the method which will be best-performing globally through individual performance criterion. However, the multi-criteria and combined-data analysis indicates that DECENT and EBSeq are the best options for DE analysis. The results also reveal the similarities among the tested methods in terms of detecting common DE genes. Our evaluation provides proper guidelines for selecting the proper tool which performs best under particular experimental settings in the context of the scRNA-seq.
PubMed ID: 34946896
MeSH Terms: Algorithms; Animals; Databases, Nucleic Acid; Gene Expression Profiling/methods*; Humans; Mice; RNA-Seq/methods*; Sequence Analysis, RNA/methods*; Sequence Analysis, RNA/statistics & numerical data; Single-Cell Analysis/methods*; Single-Cell Analysis/statistics & numerical data; Software/statistics & numerical data*