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Open Access Research article

Sample phenotype clusters in high-density oligonucleotide microarray data sets are revealed using Isomap, a nonlinear algorithm

Kevin Dawson*, Raymond L Rodriguez and Wasyl Malyj

Author Affiliations

Laboratory for High Performance Computing and Informatics and Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology University of California Davis MCB, One Shields Avenue Davis, CA 95616. USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6:195  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-195

Published: 2 August 2005

Abstract

Background

Life processes are determined by the organism's genetic profile and multiple environmental variables. However the interaction between these factors is inherently non-linear [1]. Microarray data is one representation of the nonlinear interactions among genes and genes and environmental factors. Still most microarray studies use linear methods for the interpretation of nonlinear data. In this study, we apply Isomap, a nonlinear method of dimensionality reduction, to analyze three independent large Affymetrix high-density oligonucleotide microarray data sets.

Results

Isomap discovered low-dimensional structures embedded in the Affymetrix microarray data sets. These structures correspond to and help to interpret biological phenomena present in the data. This analysis provides examples of temporal, spatial, and functional processes revealed by the Isomap algorithm. In a spinal cord injury data set, Isomap discovers the three main modalities of the experiment – location and severity of the injury and the time elapsed after the injury. In a multiple tissue data set, Isomap discovers a low-dimensional structure that corresponds to anatomical locations of the source tissues. This model is capable of describing low- and high-resolution differences in the same model, such as kidney-vs.-brain and differences between the nuclei of the amygdala, respectively. In a high-throughput drug screening data set, Isomap discovers the monocytic and granulocytic differentiation of myeloid cells and maps several chemical compounds on the two-dimensional model.

Conclusion

Visualization of Isomap models provides useful tools for exploratory analysis of microarray data sets. In most instances, Isomap models explain more of the variance present in the microarray data than PCA or MDS. Finally, Isomap is a promising new algorithm for class discovery and class prediction in high-density oligonucleotide data sets.