Statistical methods for analysis of high-throughput RNA interference screens

Nat Methods. 2009 Aug;6(8):569-75. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1351.


RNA interference (RNAi) has become a powerful technique for reverse genetics and drug discovery, and in both of these areas large-scale high-throughput RNAi screens are commonly performed. The statistical techniques used to analyze these screens are frequently borrowed directly from small-molecule screening; however, small-molecule and RNAi data characteristics differ in meaningful ways. We examine the similarities and differences between RNAi and small-molecule screens, highlighting particular characteristics of RNAi screen data that must be addressed during analysis. Additionally, we provide guidance on selection of analysis techniques in the context of a sample workflow.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Statistical
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Small Molecule Libraries*


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Small Molecule Libraries