Statistical method for reconstructing gene regulatory networks

In recent years, next generation sequencing (NGS) has gradually replaced microarray as the major platform in measuring gene expressions. Compared to microarray, NGS has many advantages, such as less noise and higher throughput. However, the discreteness of NGS data also challenges the existing statistical methodology. In particular, there still lacks an appropriate statistical method for reconstructing gene regulatory networks using NGS data in the literature. The existing local Poisson graphical model method is not consistent and can only infer certain local structures of the network.

Researchers from the University of Florida propose a random effect model-based transformation to continuize NGS data and then they transform the continuized data to Gaussian via a semiparametric transformation and apply an equivalent partial correlation selection method to reconstruct gene regulatory networks. The proposed method is consistent. The numerical results indicate that the proposed method can lead to much more accurate inference of gene regulatory networks than the local Poisson graphical model and other existing methods. The proposed data-continuized transformation fills the theoretical gap for how to transform discrete data to continuous data and facilitates NGS data analysis. The proposed data-continuized transformation also makes it feasible to integrate different types of data, such as microarray and RNA-seq data, in reconstruction of gene regulatory networks.


Gene regulatory network produced by the proposed method for the AML RNA-seq data with math formula

Jia B, Xu S, Xiao G, Lamba V, Liang F. (2017) Learning gene regulatory networks from next generation sequencing data. Biometrics [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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