Extending the mutual information measure to rank inferred literature relationships
Advanced Center for Genome Technology, Department of Botany and Microbiology, The University of Oklahoma, 101 David L. Boren Blvd, Rm 2025, Norman, OK, 73019 USA
BMC Bioinformatics 2004, 5:145 doi:10.1186/1471-2105-5-145Published: 7 October 2004
Within the peer-reviewed literature, associations between two things are not always recognized until commonalities between them become apparent. These commonalities can provide justification for the inference of a new relationship where none was previously known, and are the basis of most observation-based hypothesis formation. It has been shown that the crux of the problem is not finding inferable associations, which are extraordinarily abundant given the scale-free networks that arise from literature-based associations, but determining which ones are informative. The Mutual Information Measure (MIM) is a well-established method to measure how informative an association is, but is limited to direct (i.e. observable) associations.
Herein, we attempt to extend the calculation of mutual information to indirect (i.e. inferable) associations by using the MIM of shared associations. Objects of general research interest (e.g. genes, diseases, phenotypes, drugs, ontology categories) found within MEDLINE are used to create a network of associations for evaluation.
Mutual information calculations can be effectively extended into implied relationships and a significance cutoff estimated from analysis of random word networks. Of the models tested, the shared minimum MIM (MMIM) model is found to correlate best with the observed strength and frequency of known associations. Using three test cases, the MMIM method tends to rank more specific relationships higher than counting the number of shared relationships within a network.