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DanQ: a hybrid convolutional and recurrent deep neural network for quantifying the function of DNA sequences


Modeling the properties and functions of DNA sequences is an important, but challenging task in the broad field of genomics. This task is particularly difficult for non-coding DNA, the vast majority of which is still poorly understood in terms of function. A powerful predictive model for the function of non-coding DNA can have enormous benefit for both basic science and translational research because over 98% of the human genome is non-coding and 93% of disease-associated variants lie in these regions. To address this need, we propose DanQ, a novel hybrid convolutional and bi-directional long short-term memory recurrent neural network framework for predicting non-coding function de novo from sequence. In the DanQ model, the convolution layer captures regulatory motifs, while the recurrent layer captures long-term dependencies between the motifs in order to learn a regulatory 'grammar' to improve predictions. DanQ improves considerably upon other models across several metrics. For some regulatory markers, DanQ can achieve over a 50% relative improvement in the area under the precision-recall curve metric compared to related models. We have made the source code available at the github repository

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