Motivation: RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) enables global identification of RNA-editing sites in biological systems and disease. A salient step in many studies is to identify editing sites that statistically associate with treatment (e.g. case versus control) or covary with biological factors, such as age. However, RNA-seq has technical features that incumbent tests (e.g. t-test and linear regression) do not consider, which can lead to false positives and false negatives.
Results: In this study, we demonstrate the limitations of currently used tests and introduce the method, RNA-editing tests (REDITs), a suite of tests that employ beta-binomial models to identify differential RNA editing. The tests in REDITs have higher sensitivity than other tests, while also maintaining the type I error (false positive) rate at the nominal level. Applied to the GTEx dataset, we unveil RNA-editing changes associated with age and gender, and differential recoding profiles between brain regions.
Availability and implementation: REDITs are implemented as functions in R and freely available for download at https://github.com/gxiaolab/REDITs. The repository also provides a code example for leveraging parallelization using multiple cores.
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