In: Biosystems, v72(1-2), pages 177-186. November 2003.
Abstract: Understanding how DNA sequence variations impact human health through a hierarchy of biochemical and physiological systems is expected to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of common, complex human diseases. We have previously developed a hierarchical dynamic systems approach based on Petri nets for generating biochemical network models that are consistent with genetic models of disease susceptibility. This modeling approach uses an evolutionary computation approach called grammatical evolution as a search strategy for optimal Petri net models. We have previously demonstrated that this approach routinely identifies biochemical network models that are consistent with a variety of genetic models in which disease susceptibility is determined by nonlinear interactions between two DNA sequence variations. In the present study, we evaluate whether the Petri net approach is capable of identifying biochemical networks that are consistent with disease susceptibility due to higher order nonlinear interactions between three DNA sequence variations. The results indicate that our model-building approach is capable of routinely identifying good, but not perfect, Petri net models. Ideas for improving the algorithm for this high-dimensional problem are presented.
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