Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genomic data are growing, but what do we really know?

21.03.2013
A large-scale evaluation of computational protein function prediction: a new publication in Nature Methods, with 15 companion publications in BMC Bioinformatics

"We live in the post-genomic era, when DNA sequence data is growing exponentially", says Miami University (Ohio) computational biologist Iddo Friedberg. "But for most of the genes that we identify, we have no idea of their biological functions.

They are like words in a foreign language, waiting to be deciphered." Understanding the function of genes is a problem that has emerged at the forefront of molecular biology. Many groups develop and employ sophisticated algorithms to decipher these "words". However, until now there was no comprehensive picture of how well these methods perform, "To use the information in our genes to our advantage, we first need to take stock of how well we are doing in interpreting these data".

To do so, Friedberg and his colleagues, Predrag Radivojac, of Indiana University, Bloomington IN and Sean Mooney, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato CA organized the Critical Assessment of protein Function Annotation, or CAFA. CAFA is a community-wide experiment to assess the performance of the many methods used today to predict the functions of proteins, the workhorses of the cell coded by our genes.

Thirty research groups comprising 102 scientists and students participated in CAFA, presented a total of 54 methods. The participating groups came from leading universities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The groups participated in blind-test experiments in which they predicted the function of protein sequences for which the functions are already known but haven't yet been made publicly available. Independent assessors then judged their performance.

The results are published in this month's issue of Nature Methods co-authored by members of all the participating groups, with Friedberg and Radivojac as lead authors. Fifteen companion papers have been published in a special issue of BMC Bioinformatics detailing the methods

"We have discovered a great enthusiasm and community spirit", said Friedberg, who since 2005 has been organizing Automated Function Prediction (AFP) meetings internationally. This, despite the competitive environment in which research groups want their methods to perform better than their peers' methods. Overall, throughout CAFA there was a highly collegial spirit, and a willingness to share information and science. "Everyone recognized that this is an important endeavor, and that only by a group effort can we move the field forward and learn to harness the deluge of genomic data, turning it into useful information."

"For the first time we have broad insight into what works, where improvement is needed, and how we should move the field forward. We will continue running CAFA in the future, as we are confident it will only help generate better methods to understand the information locked in our genomes, and those of other organisms," Friedberg said.

The initial analysis suggests that algorithms combining disparate prediction clues taken from different knowledge-bases provide more accurate predictions. The lead methods combined data from phylogenetic, gene-expression and protein-protein interaction data to provide predictions.

CAFA was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and from the Department of Energy, section of Biological and Environmental Research.

Sources:

Radivojac et al, Nature Methods: http://www.nature.com/nmeth/journal/v10/n3/full/nmeth.2340.html

BMC Bioinformatics companion papers: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcbioinformatics/supplements/14/S3

The Automated Function Prediction Special Interest Group web site: http://biofunctionprediciton.org

Iddo Friedberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.miamioh.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>