In Advances in neural information processing systems 21, pages: 1433-1440, (Editors: D Koller and D Schuurmans and Y Bengio and L Bottou), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 22nd Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), June 2009 (inproceedings)
We study the problem of domain transfer for a supervised classification task in mRNA splicing. We consider a number of recent domain transfer methods from machine learning, including some that are novel, and evaluate them on genomic
sequence data from model organisms of varying evolutionary distance. We find that in cases where the organisms are not closely related, the use of domain adaptation methods can help improve classification performance.
Schweikert, G., Zien, A., Zeller, G., Behr, J., Dieterich, C., Ong, C., Philips, P., De Bona, F., Hartmann, L., Bohlen, A., Krüger, N., Sonnenburg, S., Rätsch, G.
Genome Research, 19(11):2133-43, 2009 (article)
We present a highly accurate gene-prediction system for eukaryotic genomes, called mGene. It combines in an unprecedented manner the flexibility of generalized hidden Markov models (gHMMs) with the predictive power of modern machine learning methods, such as Support Vector Machines (SVMs). Its excellent performance was proved in an objective competition based on the genome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Considering the average of sensitivity and specificity, the developmental version of mGene exhibited the best prediction performance on nucleotide, exon, and transcript level for ab initio and multiple-genome gene-prediction tasks. The fully developed version shows superior performance in 10 out of 12 evaluation criteria compared with the other participating gene finders, including Fgenesh++ and Augustus. An in-depth analysis of mGene's genome-wide predictions revealed that approximately 2200 predicted genes were not contained in the current genome annotation. Testing a subset of 57 of these genes by RT-PCR and sequencing, we confirmed expression for 24 (42%) of them. mGene missed 300 annotated genes, out of which 205 were unconfirmed. RT-PCR testing of 24 of these genes resulted in a success rate of merely 8%. These findings suggest that even the gene catalog of a well-studied organism such as C. elegans can be substantially improved by mGene's predictions. We also provide gene predictions for the four nematodes C. briggsae, C. brenneri, C. japonica, and C. remanei. Comparing the resulting proteomes among these organisms and to the known protein universe, we identified many species-specific gene inventions. In a quality assessment of several available annotations for these genomes, we find that mGene's predictions are most accurate.
We describe mGene.web, a web service for the genome-wide prediction of protein coding genes from eukaryotic DNA sequences. It offers pre-trained models for the recognition of gene structures including untranslated regions in an increasing number of organisms. With mGene.web, users have the additional possibility to train the system with their own data for other organisms on the push of a button, a functionality that will greatly accelerate the annotation of newly sequenced genomes. The system is built in a highly modular way, such that individual components of the framework, like the promoter prediction tool or the splice site predictor, can be used autonomously. The underlying gene finding system mGene is based on discriminative machine learning techniques and its high accuracy has been demonstrated in an international competition on nematode genomes. mGene.web is available at http://www.mgene.org/web, it is free of charge and can be used for eukaryotic genomes of small to moderate size (several hundred Mbp).
Rätsch, G., Clark, R., Schweikert, G., Toomajian, C., Ossowski, S., Zeller, G., Shinn, P., Warthman, N., Hu, T., Fu, G., Hinds, D., Cheng, H., Frazer, K., Huson, D., Schölkopf, B., Nordborg, M., Ecker, J., Weigel, D., Schneeberger, K., Bohlen, A.
16th Annual International Conference Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB), July 2008 (talk)
BMC Bioinformatics, 8(Supplement 10):1-16, December 2007 (article)
Background: For splice site recognition, one has to solve two classification problems:
discriminating true from decoy splice sites for both acceptor and donor sites. Gene finding systems
typically rely on Markov Chains to solve these tasks.
Results: In this work we consider Support Vector Machines for splice site recognition. We employ
the so-called weighted degree kernel which turns out well suited for this task, as we will illustrate in
several experiments where we compare its prediction accuracy with that of recently proposed
systems. We apply our method to the genome-wide recognition of splice sites in Caenorhabditis
elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Arabidopsis thaliana, Danio rerio, and Homo sapiens. Our
performance estimates indicate that splice sites can be recognized very accurately in these genomes
and that our method outperforms many other methods including Markov Chains, GeneSplicer and
SpliceMachine. We provide genome-wide predictions of splice sites and a stand-alone prediction
tool ready to be used for incorporation in a gene finder.
Availability: Data, splits, additional information on the model selection, the whole genome
predictions, as well as the stand-alone prediction tool are available for download at http://
Clark, R., Schweikert, G., Toomajian, C., Ossowski, S., Zeller, G., Shinn, P., Warthmann, N., Hu, T., Fu, G., Hinds, D., Chen, H., Frazer, K., Huson, D., Schölkopf, B., Nordborg, M., Rätsch, G., Ecker, J., Weigel, D.
Science, 317(5836):338-342, July 2007 (article)
The genomes of individuals from the same species vary in sequence as a result of different evolutionary processes. To examine the patterns of, and the forces shaping, sequence variation in Arabidopsis thaliana, we performed high-density array resequencing of 20 diverse strains (accessions). More than 1 million nonredundant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified at moderate false discovery rates (FDRs), and ~4% of the genome was identified as being highly dissimilar or deleted relative to the reference genome sequence. Patterns of polymorphism are highly nonrandom among gene families, with genes mediating interaction with the biotic environment having exceptional polymorphism levels. At the chromosomal scale, regional variation in polymorphism was readily apparent. A scan for recent selective sweeps revealed several candidate regions, including a notable example in which almost all variation was removed in a 500-kilobase window. Analyzing the polymorphisms we describe in larger sets of accessions will enable a detailed understanding of forces shaping population-wide sequence variation in A. thaliana.
2nd ISCB Student Council Symposium, August 2006 (talk)
Analyzing resequencing array data using machine learning, we obtain a genome-wide inventory of
polymorphisms in 20 wild strains of Arabidopsis thaliana, including 750,000 single nucleotide poly-
morphisms (SNPs) and thousands of highly polymorphic regions and deletions. We thus provide an
unprecedented resource for the study of natural variation in plants.
Clark, R., Ossowski, S., Schweikert, G., Rätsch, G., Shinn, P., Zeller, G., Warthmann, N., Fu, G., Hinds, D., Chen, H., Frazer, K., Huson, D., Schölkopf, B., Nordborg, M., Ecker, J., Weigel, D.
17th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, April 2006 (talk)
We have used high-density oligonucleotide arrays to characterize common sequence variation in 20 wild strains of Arabidopsis thaliana that were chosen for maximal genetic diversity. Both strands of each possible SNP of the 119 Mb reference genome were represented on the arrays, which were hybridized with whole genome, isothermally amplified DNA to minimize ascertainment biases. Using two complementary approaches, a model based algorithm, and a newly developed machine learning method, we identified over 550,000 SNPs with a false discovery rate of ~ 0.03 (average of 1 SNP for every 216 bp of the genome). A heuristic algorithm predicted in addition ~700 highly polymorphic or deleted regions per accession. Over 700 predicted polymorphisms with major functional effects (e.g., premature stop codons, or deletions of coding sequence) were validated by dideoxy sequencing. Using this data set, we provide the first systematic description of the types of genes that harbor major effect polymorphisms in natural populations
at moderate allele frequencies. The data also provide an unprecedented resource for the study of genetic variation in an experimentally tractable, multicellular model organism.
We obtained tomograms of isolated mammalian excitatory synapses by cryo-electron tomography. This method allows the investigation of biological material in the frozen-hydrated state, without staining, and can therefore provide reliable structural information at the molecular level. We developed an automated procedure for the segmentation of molecular complexes present in the synaptic cleft based on thresholding and connectivity, and calculated several morphological characteristics of these complexes. Extensive lateral connections along the synaptic cleft are shown to form a highly connected structure with a complex topology. Our results are essentially parameter-free, i.e., they do not depend on the choice of certain parameter values (such as threshold). In addition, the results are not sensitive to noise; the same conclusions can be drawn from the analysis of both nondenoised and denoised tomograms.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems