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Version 2. F1000Res. 2014 Jan 21 [revised 2014 Jun 10];3:18. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.3-18.v2. eCollection 2014.

Mutation extraction tools can be combined for robust recognition of genetic variants in the literature.

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National ICT Australia, Victoria Research Laboratory, Melbourne, Australia ; Department of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


As the cost of genomic sequencing continues to fall, the amount of data being collected and studied for the purpose of understanding the genetic basis of disease is increasing dramatically. Much of the source information relevant to such efforts is available only from unstructured sources such as the scientific literature, and significant resources are expended in manually curating and structuring the information in the literature. As such, there have been a number of systems developed to target automatic extraction of mutations and other genetic variation from the literature using text mining tools. We have performed a broad survey of the existing publicly available tools for extraction of genetic variants from the scientific literature. We consider not just one tool but a number of different tools, individually and in combination, and apply the tools in two scenarios. First, they are compared in an intrinsic evaluation context, where the tools are tested for their ability to identify specific mentions of genetic variants in a corpus of manually annotated papers, the Variome corpus. Second, they are compared in an extrinsic evaluation context based on our previous study of text mining support for curation of the COSMIC and InSiGHT databases. Our results demonstrate that no single tool covers the full range of genetic variants mentioned in the literature. Rather, several tools have complementary coverage and can be used together effectively. In the intrinsic evaluation on the Variome corpus, the combined performance is above 0.95 in F-measure, while in the extrinsic evaluation the combined recall performance is above 0.71 for COSMIC and above 0.62 for InSiGHT, a substantial improvement over the performance of any individual tool. Based on the analysis of these results, we suggest several directions for the improvement of text mining tools for genetic variant extraction from the literature.

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