MethylAid: Visual and interactive quality control of large Illumina 450k datasets

Maarten Van Iterson, Elmar W. Tobi, Roderick C. Slieker, Wouter Den Hollander, René Luijk, P. Eline Slagboom, Bastiaan T. Heijmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: The Illumina 450k array is a frequently used platform for large-scale genome-wide DNA methylation studies, i.e. epigenome-wide association studies. Currently, quality control of 450k data can be performed with Illumina's GenomeStudio and is part of a limited number 450k analysis pipelines. However, GenomeStudio cannot handle large-scale studies, and existing pipelines provide limited options for quality control and neither support interactive exploration by the user. To aid the detection of bad-quality samples in large-scale genome-wide DNA methylation studies as flexible and transparent as possible, we have developed MethylAid; a visual and interactive Web application using RStudio's shiny package. Bad-quality samples are detected using sample-dependent and sample-independent quality control probes present on the array and user-adjustable thresholds. In-depth exploration of bad-quality samples can be performed using several interactive diagnostic plots. Furthermore, plots can be annotated with user-provided metadata, for example, to identify outlying batches. Our new tool makes quality assessment of 450k array data interactive, flexible and efficient and is, therefore, expected to be useful for both data analysts and core facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3435-3437
Number of pages3
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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