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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cell type marker enrichment across brain regions and experimental conditions Tan, Powell Patrick Cheng

Abstract

The first chapter of this thesis explored the dominant gene expression pattern in the adult human brain. We discovered that the largest source of variation can be explained by cell type marker expression. Across brain regions, expression of neuron cell type markers are anti-correlated with the expression of oligodendrocyte cell type markers. Next, we explored gene function convergence and divergence in the adult mouse brain. Our contributions are as follows. First, we provide candidate cell type markers for investigating specific cell type populations. Second, we highlight orthologous genes that show functional divergence between human and mouse brains. In the second chapter, we present our preliminary work on the effects of tissue types and experimental conditions on human microarray studies. First, we measured the expression and differential expression levels of tissue-enriched genes. Next, we identified modules with similar expression levels and differential expression p-values. Our results show that expression levels reflect tissue type variation. In contrast, differential expression levels are more complex, owing to the large diversity of experimental conditions in the data. In summary, our work provides a different perspective on the functional roles of genes in human microarray studies.

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