Abstract. Identifying gene functional modules is an important step towards elucidating gene functions at a global scale. In this paper, we introduce a simple method to construct gene co-expression networks from microarray data, and then propose an efficient spectral clustering algorithm to identify natural communities, which are relatively densely connected sub-graphs, in the network. To assess the effectiveness of our approach and its advantage over existing methods, we develop a novel method to measure the agreement between the gene communities and the modular structures in other reference networks, including protein-protein interaction networks, transcriptional regulatory networks, and gene networks derived from gene annotations. We evaluate the proposed methods on two large-scale gene expression data in budding yeast and Arabidopsis thaliana. The results show that the clusters identified by our method are functionally more coherent than the clusters from several standard clustering algorithms, such as k-means, self-organizing maps, and spectral clustering, and have high agreement to the modular structures in the reference networks
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