Comparison of Clustering Methods for Time Course Genomic Data: Applications to Aging Effects
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Comparison of Clustering Methods for Time Course Genomic Data: Applications to Aging Effects

  • Author(s): Zhang, Yafeng;
  • Horvath, Steve;
  • Ophoff, Roel;
  • Telesca, Donatello
  • et al.

Time course microarray data provide insight about dynamic biological processes. While several clustering methods have been proposed for the analysis of these data structures, comparison and selection of appropriate clustering methods are seldom discussed. We compared $3$ probabilistic based clustering methods and $3$ distance based clustering methods for time course microarray data. Among probabilistic methods, we considered: smoothing spline clustering also known as model based functional data analysis (MFDA), functional clustering models for sparsely sampled data (FCM) and model-based clustering (MCLUST). Among distance based methods, we considered: weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), clustering with dynamic time warping distance (DTW) and clustering with autocorrelation based distance (ACF). We studied these algorithms in both simulated settings and case study data. Our investigations showed that FCM performed very well when gene curves were short and sparse. DTW and WGCNA performed well when gene curves were medium or long ($>=10$ observations). SSC performed very well when there were clusters of gene curves similar to one another. Overall, ACF performed poorly in these applications. In terms of computation time, FCM, SSC and DTW were considerably slower than MCLUST and WGCNA. WGCNA outperformed MCLUST by generating more accurate and biological meaningful clustering results. WGCNA and MCLUST are the best methods among the 6 methods compared, when performance and computation time are both taken into account. WGCNA outperforms MCLUST, but MCLUST provides model based inference and uncertainty measure of clustering results.

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