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Theses Doctoral

Using machine learning to predict gene expression and discover sequence motifs

Li, Xuejing

Recently, large amounts of experimental data for complex biological systems have become available. We use tools and algorithms from machine learning to build data-driven predictive models. We first present a novel algorithm to discover gene sequence motifs associated with temporal expression patterns of genes. Our algorithm, which is based on partial least squares (PLS) regression, is able to directly model the flow of information, from gene sequence to gene expression, to learn cis regulatory motifs and characterize associated gene expression patterns. Our algorithm outperforms traditional computational methods e.g. clustering in motif discovery. We then present a study of extending a machine learning model for transcriptional regulation predictive of genetic regulatory response to Caenorhabditis elegans. We show meaningful results both in terms of prediction accuracy on the test experiments and biological information extracted from the regulatory program. The model discovers DNA binding sites ab intio. We also present a case study where we detect a signal of lineage-specific regulation. Finally we present a comparative study on learning predictive models for motif discovery, based on different boosting algorithms: Adaptive Boosting (AdaBoost), Linear Programming Boosting (LPBoost) and Totally Corrective Boosting (TotalBoost). We evaluate and compare the performance of the three boosting algorithms via both statistical and biological validation, for hypoxia response in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Physics
Thesis Advisors
Marka, Szabolcs
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 30, 2012
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