Multiple genes and their interactions are involved in most human diseases. This pathway-centric view of human pathology is beginning to guide our approaches to disease research. Analytical algorithms describing human gene networks have been developed for three major tasks in disease research: (i) disease gene prioritization, (ii) disease module discovery, and (iii) stratification of complex diseases. To understand the underlying biology of human diseases, identification of disease genes and disease pathways is crucial. The functional interdependence between genes for disease progression has been identified by their connections in gene networks, which enables prediction of novel disease genes based on their connections to known disease genes. Disease modules can be identified by subnetworks that are enriched for patient-specific activated or mutated genes. Network biology also facilitates the subtyping of complex diseases such as cancer, which is a prerequisite for developing personalized medicinal therapies. In this review, we discuss network-assisted approaches in human disease research, with particular focus on the three major tasks. Network biology will provide powerful research platforms to dissect and interpret disease genomics data in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)