Assessing overdispersion and dose-response in the male dominant lethal assay

Ann Marie C. Lockhart, Walter W. Piegorsch, Jack B. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In dominant lethal studies the primary variables of interest are typically expressed as discrete counts or proportions (e.g., live implants, resorptions, percent pregnant). Simple statistical sampling models for discrete data such as binomial or Poisson generally do not fit this type of data because of extra-binomial or extra-Poisson departures from variability predicted under these simple models. Extra-variability in the fetal response may originate from parental contributions. These can lead to over- or under-dispersion seen as, e.g., extra-binomial variability in the proportion response. Utilizing a large control database, we investigated the relative impact of extra-variability from male or female contributions on the endpoints of interest. Male-related effects did not seem to contribute to overdispersion in our database; female-related effects were, however, evidenced. Various statistical methods were considered to test for significant treatment differences under these forms of sampling variability. Computer simulations were used to evaluate these methods and to determine which are most appropriate for practical use in the evaluation of dominant lethal data. Our results suggest that distribution-free statistical methods such as a nonparametric permutation test or rank-based tests for trend can be recommended for use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-58
Number of pages24
JournalMutation Research/Environmental Mutagenesis and Related Subjects
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1992


  • Dose-response analysis
  • Extra-binomial variability
  • Germ-cell mutagenesis
  • Heritable disease
  • Litter effect
  • Mouse
  • Statistical methods
  • Under-dispersion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Genetics


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