Sparse Bayesian classification and feature selection for biological expression data with high correlations

Xian Yang, Wei Pan, Yike Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Classification models built on biological expression data are increasingly used to predict distinct disease subtypes. Selected features that separate sample groups can be the candidates of biomarkers, helping us to discover biological functions/pathways. However, three challenges are associated with building a robust classification and feature selection model: 1) the number of significant biomarkers is much smaller than that of measured features for which the search will be exhaustive; 2) current biological expression data are big in both sample size and feature size which will worsen the scalability of any search algorithms; and 3) expression profiles of certain features are typically highly correlated which may prevent to distinguish the predominant features. Unfortunately, most of the existing algorithms are partially addressing part of these challenges but not as a whole. In this paper, we propose a unified framework to address the above challenges. The classification and feature selection problem is first formulated as a nonconvex optimisation problem. Then the problem is relaxed and solved iteratively by a sequence of convex optimisation procedures which can be distributed computed and therefore allows the efficient implementation on advanced infrastructures. To illustrate the competence of our method over others, we first analyse a randomly generated simulation dataset under various conditions. We then analyse a real gene expression dataset on embryonal tumour. Further downstream analysis, such as functional annotation and pathway analysis, are performed on the selected features which elucidate several biological findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189541
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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