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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Content-rich biological network constructed by mining PubMed abstracts

Hao Chen and Burt M Sharp

Author affiliations

Department of Pharmacology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Room 115 Crowe Research Building, 874 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38163 USA

Citation and License

BMC Bioinformatics 2004, 5:147  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-5-147

Published: 8 October 2004



The integration of the rapidly expanding corpus of information about the genome, transcriptome, and proteome, engendered by powerful technological advances, such as microarrays, and the availability of genomic sequence from multiple species, challenges the grasp and comprehension of the scientific community. Despite the existence of text-mining methods that identify biological relationships based on the textual co-occurrence of gene/protein terms or similarities in abstract texts, knowledge of the underlying molecular connections on a large scale, which is prerequisite to understanding novel biological processes, lags far behind the accumulation of data. While computationally efficient, the co-occurrence-based approaches fail to characterize (e.g., inhibition or stimulation, directionality) biological interactions. Programs with natural language processing (NLP) capability have been created to address these limitations, however, they are in general not readily accessible to the public.


We present a NLP-based text-mining approach, Chilibot, which constructs content-rich relationship networks among biological concepts, genes, proteins, or drugs. Amongst its features, suggestions for new hypotheses can be generated. Lastly, we provide evidence that the connectivity of molecular networks extracted from the biological literature follows the power-law distribution, indicating scale-free topologies consistent with the results of previous experimental analyses.


Chilibot distills scientific relationships from knowledge available throughout a wide range of biological domains and presents these in a content-rich graphical format, thus integrating general biomedical knowledge with the specialized knowledge and interests of the user. Chilibot webcite can be accessed free of charge to academic users.