Statistical methods for enrichment analysis are important tools to extract biological information from omics experiments. Although these methods have been widely used for the analysis of gene and protein lists, the development of high-throughput technologies for regulatory elements demands dedicated statistical and bioinformatics tools. Here, we present a set of enrichment analysis methods for regulatory elements, including CpG sites, miRNAs, and transcription factors. Statistical significance is determined via a power weighting function for target genes and tested by the Wallenius noncentral hypergeometric distribution model to avoid selection bias. These new methodologies have been applied to the analysis of a set of miRNAs associated with arrhythmia, showing the potential of this tool to extract biological information from a list of regulatory elements. These new methods are available in GeneCodis 4, a web tool able to perform singular and modular enrichment analysis that allows the integration of heterogeneous information.
Keywords: enrichment analysis; functional analysis; gene set analysis; regulation; web tool.