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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 4 (2003), Issue 3, Pages 287-299
Primary research paper

Performance Assessment of Kernel Density Clustering for Gene Expression Profile Data

Reid Research Centre, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., DuPont Agriculture and Nutrition, 7300 NW 62nd Avenue, PO Box 1004, Johnston 50131, IA, USA

Received 20 November 2002; Revised 24 February 2003; Accepted 26 February 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Kernel density smoothing techniques have been used in classification or supervised learning of gene expression profile (GEP) data, but their applications to clustering or unsupervised learning of those data have not been explored and assessed. Here we report a kernel density clustering method for analysing GEP data and compare its performance with the three most widely-used clustering methods: hierarchical clustering, K-means clustering, and multivariate mixture model-based clustering. Using several methods to measure agreement, between-cluster isolation, and withincluster coherence, such as the Adjusted Rand Index, the Pseudo F test, the r2 test, and the profile plot, we have assessed the effectiveness of kernel density clustering for recovering clusters, and its robustness against noise on clustering both simulated and real GEP data. Our results show that the kernel density clustering method has excellent performance in recovering clusters from simulated data and in grouping large real expression profile data sets into compact and well-isolated clusters, and that it is the most robust clustering method for analysing noisy expression profile data compared to the other three methods assessed.