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A novel computational approach for predicting complex phenotypes in Drosophila (starvation-sensitive and sterile) by deriving their gene expression signatures from public data

Ivanov, Dobril ORCID:, Bostelmann, Gerrit, Lan-Leung, Benoit, Williams, Julie ORCID:, Partridge, Linda, Escott-Price, Valentina ORCID: and Thornton, Janet 2020. A novel computational approach for predicting complex phenotypes in Drosophila (starvation-sensitive and sterile) by deriving their gene expression signatures from public data. PLoS ONE 15 (10) , e0240824. 10.1371/journal.pone.0240824

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Many research teams perform numerous genetic, transcriptomic, proteomic and other types of omic experiments to understand molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms of disease and health. Often (but not always), the results of these experiments are deposited in publicly available repository databases. These data records often include phenotypic characteristics following genetic and environmental perturbations, with the aim of discovering underlying molecular mechanisms leading to the phenotypic responses. A constrained set of phenotypic characteristics is usually recorded and these are mostly hypothesis driven of possible to record within financial or practical constraints. We present a novel proof-of-principal computational approach for combining publicly available gene-expression data from control/mutant animal experiments that exhibit a particular phenotype, and we use this approach to predict unobserved phenotypic characteristics in new experiments (data derived from EBI’s ArrayExpress and ExpressionAtlas respectively). We utilised available microarray gene-expression data for two phenotypes (starvation-sensitive and sterile) in Drosophila. The data were combined using a linear-mixed effects model with the inclusion of consecutive principal components to account for variability between experiments in conjunction with Gene Ontology enrichment analysis. We present how available data can be ranked in accordance to a phenotypic likelihood of exhibiting these two phenotypes using random forest. The results from our study show that it is possible to integrate seemingly different gene-expression microarray data and predict a potential phenotypic manifestation with a relatively high degree of confidence (>80% AUC). This provides thus far unexplored opportunities for inferring unknown and unbiased phenotypic characteristics from already performed experiments, in order to identify studies for future analyses. Molecular mechanisms associated with gene and environment perturbations are intrinsically linked and give rise to a variety of phenotypic manifestations. Therefore, unravelling the phenotypic spectrum can help to gain insights into disease mechanisms associated with gene and environmental perturbations. Our approach uses public data that are set to increase in volume, thus providing value for money.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 October 2020
Date of Acceptance: 5 October 2020
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 18:16

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