Parametric and non-parametric gradient matching for network inference: a comparison

Leander Dony, Fei He, Michael P H Stumpf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks from time series gene-expression data is a challenging problem, not only because of the vast sets of candidate interactions but also due to the stochastic nature of gene expression. We limit our analysis to nonlinear differential equation based inference methods. In order to avoid the computational cost of large-scale simulations, a two-step Gaussian process interpolation based gradient matching approach has been proposed to solve differential equations approximately.

RESULTS: We apply a gradient matching inference approach to a large number of candidate models, including parametric differential equations or their corresponding non-parametric representations, we evaluate the network inference performance under various settings for different inference objectives. We use model averaging, based on the Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC), to combine the different inferences. The performance of different inference approaches is evaluated using area under the precision-recall curves.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that parametric methods can provide comparable, and often improved inference compared to non-parametric methods; the latter, however, require no kinetic information and are computationally more efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
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Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Systems biology
  • Gradient matching
  • Gene regulation
  • Network inference


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