Volume 17 (2017) Pages 53-71
Several researchers have focused on the inference of genetic networks as a process for extracting useful information from gene expression data. Their work has led to the proposal of a number of methods for genetic network inference. Yet the genetic networks inferred by these methods often contain large numbers of false-positive regulations along with the true-positives. One effective way to reduce the number of erroneous regulations is to apply inference methods that use a priori knowledge on the properties of the genetic networks. The existing inference methods adopting this approach generally use a priori knowledge and the observed gene expression data simultaneously to determine whether or not the target genetic network actually contains each of the candidate regulations. In this study, we establish a new framework for “using a priori knowledge after genetic network inference.” The framework uses a priori knowledge only to modify the genetic network that has already been inferred by the other inference method. Based on this framework, we propose a new inference method that uses multiple kinds of a priori knowledge about genetic networks. The proposed method effectively combines multiple kinds of knowledge and computes the confidence values of regulations. Here, we confirm the effectiveness of the proposed method by applying it to artificial and actual genetic network inference problems. While only a small improvement is gained from the use of multiple kinds of a priori knowledge, we can improve the performance of many other existing inference methods by combining them with the method we propose here.