DNA microarray technologies are used extensively to profile the expression levels of thousands of genes under various conditions, yielding extremely large data-matrices. Thus, analyzing this information and extracting biologically relevant knowledge becomes a considerable challenge. A classical approach for tackling this challenge is to use clustering (also known as one-way clustering) methods where genes (or respectively samples) are grouped together based on the similarity of their expression profiles across the set of all samples (or respectively genes). An alternative approach is to develop biclustering methods to identify local patterns in the data. These methods extract subgroups of genes that are co-expressed across only a subset of samples and may feature important biological or medical implications. In this study we evaluate 13 biclustering and 2 clustering (k-means and hierarchical) methods. We use several approaches to compare their performance on two real gene expression data sets. For this purpose we apply four evaluation measures in our analysis: (1) we examine how well the considered (bi)clustering methods differentiate various sample types; (2) we evaluate how well the groups of genes discovered by the (bi)clustering methods are annotated with similar Gene Ontology categories; (3) we evaluate the capability of the methods to differentiate genes that are known to be specific to the particular sample types we study and (4) we compare the running time of the algorithms. In the end, we conclude that as long as the samples are well defined and annotated, the contamination of the samples is limited, and the samples are well replicated, biclustering methods such as Plaid and SAMBA are useful for discovering relevant subsets of genes and samples. © 2014 Oghabian et al.
Oghabian, A., Kilpinen, S., Hautaniemi, S., & Czeizler, E. (2014). Biclustering methods: Biological relevance and application in gene expression analysis. PLoS ONE, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0090801