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In IEEE/ACM transactions on computational biology and bioinformatics

Identifying essential genes in comparison states (EGS) is vital to understanding cell differentiation, performing drug discovery, and identifying disease causes. Here, we present a machine learning method termed Prediction of Essential Genes in Comparison States (PreEGS). To capture the alteration of the network in comparison states, PreEGS extracts topological and gene expression features of each gene in a five-dimensional vector. PreEGS also recruits a positive sample expansion method to address the problem of unbalanced positive and negative samples, which is often encountered in practical applications. Different classifiers are applied to the simulated datasets, and the PreEGS based on the random forests model (PreEGSRF) was chosen for optimal performance. PreEGSRF was then compared with six other methods, including three machine learning methods, to predict EGS in a specific state. On real datasets with four gene regulatory networks, PreEGSRF predicted five essential genes related to leukemia and five enriched KEGG pathways. Four of the predicted essential genes and all predicted pathways were consistent with previous studies and highly correlated with leukemia. With high prediction accuracy and generalization ability, PreEGSRF is broadly applicable for the discovery of disease-causing genes, driver genes for cell fate decisions, and complex biomarkers of biological systems.

Xie Jiang, Zhao Chang, Sun Jiamin, Li Jiaxin, Yang Fuzhang, Wang Jiao, Nie Qing