Machine learning applications in genetics and genomics

Nat Rev Genet. 2015 Jun;16(6):321-32. doi: 10.1038/nrg3920. Epub 2015 May 7.


The field of machine learning, which aims to develop computer algorithms that improve with experience, holds promise to enable computers to assist humans in the analysis of large, complex data sets. Here, we provide an overview of machine learning applications for the analysis of genome sequencing data sets, including the annotation of sequence elements and epigenetic, proteomic or metabolomic data. We present considerations and recurrent challenges in the application of supervised, semi-supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods, as well as of generative and discriminative modelling approaches. We provide general guidelines to assist in the selection of these machine learning methods and their practical application for the analysis of genetic and genomic data sets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Base Sequence
  • Computer Simulation
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Genetics, Medical
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation