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In Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)

MOTIVATION : Recently, machine learning models have achieved tremendous success in prioritizing candidate genes for genetic diseases. These models are able to accurately quantify the similarity among disease and genes based on the intuition that similar genes are more likely to be associated with similar diseases. However, the genetic features these methods rely on are often hard to collect due to high experimental cost and various other technical limitations. Existing solutions of this problem significantly increase the risk of overfitting and decrease the generalizability of the models.

RESULTS : In this work, we propose a graph neural network (GNN) version of the Learning under Privileged Information paradigm to predict new disease gene associations. Unlike previous gene prioritization approaches, our model does not require the genetic features to be the same at training and test stages. If a genetic feature is hard to measure and therefore missing at the test stage, our model could still efficiently incorporate its information during the training process. To implement this, we develop a Heteroscedastic Gaussian Dropout algorithm, where the dropout probability of the GNN model is determined by another GNN model with a mirrored GNN architecture. To evaluate our method, we compared our method with four state-of-the-art methods on the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man dataset to prioritize candidate disease genes. Extensive evaluations show that our model could improve the prediction accuracy when all the features are available compared to other methods. More importantly, our model could make very accurate predictions when >90% of the features are missing at the test stage.

AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION : Our method is realized with Python 3.7 and Pytorch 1.5.0 and method and data are freely available at:

Shu Juan, Li Yu, Wang Sheng, Xi Bowei, Ma Jianzhu