A Machine Learning Approach for MicroRNA Precursor Prediction in Retro-transcribing Virus Genomes

J Integr Bioinform. 2016 Dec 22;13(5):303. doi: 10.2390/biecoll-jib-2016-303.


Identification of microRNA (miRNA) precursors has seen increased efforts in recent years. The difficulty in experimental detection of pre-miRNAs increased the usage of computational approaches. Most of these approaches rely on machine learning especially classification. In order to achieve successful classification, many parameters need to be considered such as data quality, choice of classifier settings, and feature selection. For the latter one, we developed a distributed genetic algorithm on HTCondor to perform feature selection. Moreover, we employed two widely used classification algorithms libSVM and random forest with different settings to analyze the influence on the overall classification performance. In this study we analyzed 5 human retro virus genomes; Human endogenous retrovirus K113, Hepatitis B virus (strain ayw), Human T lymphotropic virus 1, Human T lymphotropic virus 2, Human immunodeficiency virus 2, and Human immunodeficiency virus 1. We then predicted pre-miRNAs by using the information from known virus and human pre-miRNAs. Our results indicate that these viruses produce novel unknown miRNA precursors which warrant further experimental validation.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Genome, Human
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA Precursors / genetics*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reverse Transcription / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA Precursors