The use of strictly standardized mean difference for hit selection in primary RNA interference high-throughput screening experiments

Xiaohua Douglas Zhang, Marc Ferrer, Amy S. Espeseth, Shane Douglas Marine, Erica M. Stec, Michael A. Crackower, Daniel J. Holder, Joseph F. Heyse, Berta Strulovici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (SciVal)


RNA interference (RNAi) high-throughput screening (HTS) has been hailed as the 2nd genomics wave following the 1st genomics wave of gene expression microarrays and single-nucleotide polymorphism discovery platforms. Following an RNAi HTS, the authors are interested in identifying short interfering RNA (siRNA) hits with large inhibition/activation effects. For hit selection, the z-score method and its variants are commonly used in primary RNAi HTS experiments. Recently, strictly standardized mean difference (SSMD) has been proposed to measure the siRNA effect represented by the magnitude of difference between an siRNA and a negative reference group. The links between SSMD and d+-probability offer a clear interpretation of siRNA effects from a probability perspective. Hence, SSMD can be used as a ranking metric for hit selection. In this article, the authors investigated both the SSMD-based testing process and the use of SSMD as a ranking metric for hit selection in 2 primary siRNA HTS experiments. The analysis results showed that, as a ranking metric, SSMD was more stable and reliable than percentage inhibition and led to more robust hit selection results. Using the SSMD -based testing method, the false-negative rate can more readily be obtained. More important, the use of the SSMD-based method can result in a reduction in both the false-negative and false-positive rates. The applications presented in this article demonstrate that the SSMD method addresses scientific questions and fills scientific needs better than both percentage inhibition and the commonly used z-score method for hit selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-509
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Screening
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • D-probability
  • High-throughput screening
  • Hit rate point
  • Restricted false-positive rate
  • Strictly standardized mean difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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