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Inferring genetic networks from microarray data

Davidson, George S.; May, Elebeoba E.; Faulon, Jean-Loup M.

In theory, it should be possible to infer realistic genetic networks from time series microarray data. In practice, however, network discovery has proved problematic. The three major challenges are: (1) inferring the network; (2) estimating the stability of the inferred network; and (3) making the network visually accessible to the user. Here we describe a method, tested on publicly available time series microarray data, which addresses these concerns. The inference of genetic networks from genome-wide experimental data is an important biological problem which has received much attention. Approaches to this problem have typically included application of clustering algorithms [6]; the use of Boolean networks [12, 1, 10]; the use of Bayesian networks [8, 11]; and the use of continuous models [21, 14, 19]. Overviews of the problem and general approaches to network inference can be found in [4, 3]. Our approach to network inference is similar to earlier methods in that we use both clustering and Boolean network inference. However, we have attempted to extend the process to better serve the end-user, the biologist. In particular, we have incorporated a system to assess the reliability of our network, and we have developed tools which allow interactive visualization of the proposed network.