We use Backward Chaining Rule Induction (BCRI), a novel data mining method for hypothesizing causative mechanisms, to mine lung cancer gene expression array data for mechanisms that could impact survival. Initially, a supervised learning system is used to generate a prediction model in the form of "IF <conditions> THEN <outcome>" style rules. Next, each antecedent (i.e. an IF condition) of a previously discovered rule becomes the outcome class for subsequent application of supervised rule induction. This step is repeated until a termination condition is satisfied. "Chains" of rules are created by working backward from an initial condition (e.g. survival status). Through this iterative process of "backward chaining," BCRI searches for rules that describe plausible gene interactions for subsequent validation. Thus, BCRI is a semi-supervised approach that constrains the search through the vast space of plausible causal mechanisms by using a top-level outcome to kick-start the process. We demonstrate the general BCRI task sequence, how to implement it, the validation process, and how BCRI-rules discovered from lung cancer microarray data can be combined with prior knowledge to generate hypotheses about functional genomics.
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