Optimal Experimental Design for Gene Regulatory Networks in the Presence of Uncertainty
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Of major interest to translational genomics is the intervention in gene regulatory networks (GRNs) to affect cell behavior; in particular, to alter pathological phenotypes. Owing to the complexity of GRNs, accurate network inference is practically challenging and GRN models often contain considerable amounts of uncertainty. Considering the cost and time required for conducting biological experiments, it is desirable to have a systematic method for prioritizing potential experiments so that an experiment can be chosen to optimally reduce network uncertainty. Moreover, from a translational perspective it is crucial that GRN uncertainty be quantified and reduced in a manner that pertains to the operational cost that it induces, such as the cost of network intervention. In this work, we utilize the concept of mean objective cost of uncertainty (MOCU) to propose a novel framework for optimal experimental design. In the proposed framework, potential experiments are prioritized based on the MOCU expected to remain after conducting the experiment. Based on this prioritization, one can select an optimal experiment with the largest potential to reduce the pertinent uncertainty present in the current network model. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method via extensive simulations based on synthetic and real gene regulatory networks.
author list (cited authors)
Dehghannasiri, R., Yoon, B., & Dougherty, E. R.