Identifying genes relevant to specific biological conditions in time course microarray experiments

Nitesh Kumar Singh, Dirk Repsilber, Volkmar Liebscher, Leila Taher, Georg Fuellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microarrays have been useful in understanding various biological processes by allowing the simultaneous study of the expression of thousands of genes. However, the analysis of microarray data is a challenging task. One of the key problems in microarray analysis is the classification of unknown expression profiles. Specifically, the often large number of non-informative genes on the microarray adversely affects the performance and efficiency of classification algorithms. Furthermore, the skewed ratio of sample to variable poses a risk of overfitting. Thus, in this context, feature selection methods become crucial to select relevant genes and, hence, improve classification accuracy. In this study, we investigated feature selection methods based on gene expression profiles and protein interactions. We found that in our setup, the addition of protein interaction information did not contribute to any significant improvement of the classification results. Furthermore, we developed a novel feature selection method that relies exclusively on observed gene expression changes in microarray experiments, which we call "relative Signal-to-Noise ratio" (rSNR). More precisely, the rSNR ranks genes based on their specificity to an experimental condition, by comparing intrinsic variation, i.e. variation in gene expression within an experimental condition, with extrinsic variation, i.e. variation in gene expression across experimental conditions. Genes with low variation within an experimental condition of interest and high variation across experimental conditions are ranked higher, and help in improving classification accuracy. We compared different feature selection methods on two time-series microarray datasets and one static microarray dataset. We found that the rSNR performed generally better than the other methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e76561
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis/genetics
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Genes
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis/methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Time Factors


Dive into the research topics of 'Identifying genes relevant to specific biological conditions in time course microarray experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this