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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e41474. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041474. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

A network synthesis model for generating protein interaction network families.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States of America.


In this work, we introduce a novel network synthesis model that can generate families of evolutionarily related synthetic protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks. Given an ancestral network, the proposed model generates the network family according to a hypothetical phylogenetic tree, where the descendant networks are obtained through duplication and divergence of their ancestors, followed by network growth using network evolution models. We demonstrate that this network synthesis model can effectively create synthetic networks whose internal and cross-network properties closely resemble those of real PPI networks. The proposed model can serve as an effective framework for generating comprehensive benchmark datasets that can be used for reliable performance assessment of comparative network analysis algorithms. Using this model, we constructed a large-scale network alignment benchmark, called NAPAbench, and evaluated the performance of several representative network alignment algorithms. Our analysis clearly shows the relative performance of the leading network algorithms, with their respective advantages and disadvantages. The algorithm and source code of the network synthesis model and the network alignment benchmark NAPAbench are publicly available at

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