Genomic data are subject to various sources of confounding, such as demographic variables, biological heterogeneity, and batch effects. To identify genomic features associated with a variable of interest in the presence of confounders, the traditional approach involves fitting a confounder-adjusted regression model to each genomic feature, followed by multiplicity correction.


This study shows that the traditional approach is suboptimal and proposes a new two-dimensional false discovery rate control framework (2DFDR+) that provides significant power improvement over the conventional method and applies to a wide range of settings. 2DFDR+ uses marginal independence test statistics as auxiliary information to filter out less promising features, and FDR control is performed based on conditional independence test statistics in the remaining features. 2DFDR+ provides (asymptotically) valid inference from samples in settings where the conditional distribution of the genomic variables given the covariate of interest and the confounders is arbitrary and completely unknown. Promising finite sample performance is demonstrated via extensive simulations and real data applications.

Availability and implementation

R codes and vignettes are available at

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