Malik Yousef, Segun Jung, Andrew V. Kossenkov, Louise C. Showe, Michael K. Showe; Naïve Bayes for microRNA target predictions—machine learning for microRNA targets, Bioinformatics, Volume 23, Issue 22, 15 November 2007, Pages 2987–2992, https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btm484

Naïve Bayes for microRNA target predictions–machine learning for microRNA targets



Most computational methodologies for miRNA:mRNA target gene prediction use the seed segment of the miRNA and require cross-species sequence conservation in this region of the mRNA target. Methods that do not rely on conservation generate numbers of predictions, which are too large to validate. We describe a target prediction method (NBmiRTar) that does not require sequence conservation, using instead, machine learning by a naïve Bayes classifier. It generates a model from sequence and miRNA:mRNA duplex information from validated targets and artificially generated negative examples. Both the ‘seed’ and ‘out-seed’ segments of the miRNA:mRNA duplex are used for target identification.


The application of machine-learning techniques to the features we have used is a useful and general approach for microRNA target gene prediction. Our technique produces fewer false positive predictions and fewer target candidates to be tested. It exhibits higher sensitivity and specificity than algorithms that rely on conserved genomic regions to decrease false positive predictions.