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PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Jan 20;7(1):e1001057. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1001057.

Is my network module preserved and reproducible?

Author information

1
Department of Human Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.

Abstract

In many applications, one is interested in determining which of the properties of a network module change across conditions. For example, to validate the existence of a module, it is desirable to show that it is reproducible (or preserved) in an independent test network. Here we study several types of network preservation statistics that do not require a module assignment in the test network. We distinguish network preservation statistics by the type of the underlying network. Some preservation statistics are defined for a general network (defined by an adjacency matrix) while others are only defined for a correlation network (constructed on the basis of pairwise correlations between numeric variables). Our applications show that the correlation structure facilitates the definition of particularly powerful module preservation statistics. We illustrate that evaluating module preservation is in general different from evaluating cluster preservation. We find that it is advantageous to aggregate multiple preservation statistics into summary preservation statistics. We illustrate the use of these methods in six gene co-expression network applications including 1) preservation of cholesterol biosynthesis pathway in mouse tissues, 2) comparison of human and chimpanzee brain networks, 3) preservation of selected KEGG pathways between human and chimpanzee brain networks, 4) sex differences in human cortical networks, 5) sex differences in mouse liver networks. While we find no evidence for sex specific modules in human cortical networks, we find that several human cortical modules are less preserved in chimpanzees. In particular, apoptosis genes are differentially co-expressed between humans and chimpanzees. Our simulation studies and applications show that module preservation statistics are useful for studying differences between the modular structure of networks. Data, R software and accompanying tutorials can be downloaded from the following webpage: http://www.genetics.ucla.edu/labs/horvath/CoexpressionNetwork/ModulePreservation.

PMID:
21283776
PMCID:
PMC3024255
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1001057
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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