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Physics  2002 

Finding Communities of Related Genes

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We present an automated method of identifying communities of functionally related genes from the biomedical literature. These communities encapsulate human gene and protein interactions and identify groups of genes that are complementary in their function. We use graphs to represent the network of gene cooccurrences in articles mentioning particular keywords, and find that these graphs consist of one giant connected component and many small ones. In addition, the vertex degree distribution of the graphs follows a power law, whose exponent we determine. We then use an algorithm based on betweenness centrality to identify community structures within the giant component. The different structures are then aggregated into a final list of communities, whose members are weighted according to how strongly they belong to them. Our method is efficient enough to be applicable to the entire Medline database, and yet the information it extracts is significantly detailed, applicable to a particular problem, and interesting in and of itself. We illustrate the method in the case of colon cancer and demonstrate important features of the resulting communities.


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