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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Novelty Indicator for Enhanced Prioritization of Predicted Gene Ontology Annotations


Genes and their protein products are essential molecular units of a living organism. The knowledge of their functions is key for the understanding of physiological and pathological biological processes, as well as in the development of new drugs and therapies. The association of a gene or protein with its functions, described by controlled terms of biomolecular terminologies or ontologies, is named gene functional annotation. Very many and valuable gene annotations expressed through terminologies and ontologies are available. Nevertheless, they might include some erroneous information, since only a subset of annotations are reviewed by curators. Furthermore, they are incomplete by definition, given the rapidly evolving pace of biomolecular knowledge. In this scenario, computational methods that are able to quicken the annotation curation process and reliably suggest new annotations are very important. Here, we first propose a computational pipeline that uses different semantic and machine learning methods to predict novel ontology-based gene functional annotations; then, we introduce a new semantic prioritization rule to categorize the predicted annotations by their likelihood of being correct. Our tests and validations proved the effectiveness of our pipeline and prioritization of predicted annotations, by selecting as most likely manifold predicted annotations that were later confirmed.

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