1. The normalization of biochemical data to weight them appropriately for parameter estimation is considered, with reference particularly to data from tracer kinetics and enzyme kinetics. If the data are in replicate, it is recommended that the sum of squared deviations for each experimental variable at each time or concentration point is divided by the local variance at that point. 2. If there is only one observation for each variable at each sampling point, normalization may still be required if the observations cover more than one order of magnitude, but there is no absolute criterion for judging the effect of the weighting that is produced. The goodness of fit that is produced by minimizing the weighted sum of squares of deviations must be judged subjectively. It is suggested that the goodness of fit may be regarded as satisfactory if the data points are distributed uniformly on either side of the fitted curve. A chi-square test may be used to decide whether the distribution is abnormal. The proportion of the residual variance associated with points on one or other side of the fitted curve may also be taken into account, because this gives an indication of the sensitivity of the residual variance to movement of the curve away from particular data points. These criteria for judging the effect of weighting are only valid if the model equation may reasonably be expected to apply to all the data points. 3. On this basis, normalizing by dividing the deviation for each data point by the experimental observation or by the equivalent value calculated by the model equation may both be shown to produce a consistent bias for numerically small observations, the former biasing the curve towards the smallest observations, the latter tending to produce a curve that is above the numerically smaller data points. It was found that dividing each deviation by the mean of observed and calculated variable appropriate to it produces a weighting that is fairly free from bias as judged by the criteria mentioned above. This normalization factor was tested on published data from both tracer kinetics and enzyme kinetics.

This content is only available as a PDF.