Disease-Gene Association Using a Genetic Algorithm
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Understanding the relationship between genetic diseases and the genes associated with them is an important problem regarding human health. The vast amount of data created from a large number of high-throughput experiments performed in the last few years has resulted in an unprecedented growth in computational methods to tackle the disease gene association problem. Nowadays, it is clear that a genetic disease is not a consequence of a defect in a single gene. Instead, the disease phenotype is a reflection of various genetic components interacting in a complex network. In fact, genetic diseases, like any other phenotype, occur as a result of various genes working in sync with each other in a single or several biological module(s). Using a genetic algorithm, our method tries to evolve communities containing the set of potential disease genes likely to be involved in a given genetic disease. Having a set of known disease genes, we first obtain a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network containing all the known disease genes. All the other genes inside the procured PPI network are then considered as candidate disease genes as they lie in the vicinity of the known disease genes in the network. Our method attempts to find communities of potential disease genes strongly working with one another and with the set of known disease genes. As a proof of concept, we tested our approach on 16 breast cancer genes and 15 Parkinson's Disease genes. We obtained comparable or better results than CIPHER, ENDEAVOUR and GPEC, three of the most reliable and frequently used disease-gene ranking frameworks.