Drosophila stage annotation using sparse learning method

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Drosophila melanogaster, as an important model organism, is used to explore the mechanism which governs cell differentiation and embryonic development. Understanding the mechanism will help to reveal the effects of

Drosophila melanogaster, as an important model organism, is used to explore the mechanism which governs cell differentiation and embryonic development. Understanding the mechanism will help to reveal the effects of genes on other species or even human beings. Currently, digital camera techniques make high quality Drosophila gene expression imaging possible. On the other hand, due to the advances in biology, gene expression images which can reveal spatiotemporal patterns are generated in a high-throughput pace. Thus, an automated and efficient system that can analyze gene expression will become a necessary tool for investigating the gene functions, interactions and developmental processes. One investigation method is to compare the expression patterns of different developmental stages. Recently, however, the expression patterns are manually annotated with rough stage ranges. The work of annotation requires professional knowledge from experienced biologists. Hence, how to transfer the domain knowledge in biology into an automated system which can automatically annotate the patterns provides a challenging problem for computer scientists. In this thesis, the problem of stage annotation for Drosophila embryo is modeled in the machine learning framework. Three sparse learning algorithms and one ensemble algorithm are used to attack the problem. The sparse algorithms are Lasso, group Lasso and sparse group Lasso. The ensemble algorithm is based on a voting method. Besides that the proposed algorithms can annotate the patterns to stages instead of stage ranges with high accuracy; the decimal stage annotation algorithm presents a novel way to annotate the patterns to decimal stages. In addition, some analysis on the algorithm performance are made and corresponding explanations are given. Finally, with the proposed system, all the lateral view BDGP and FlyFish images are annotated and several interesting applications of decimal stage value are revealed.