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nala: text mining natural language mutation mentions

Cejuela, Juan Miguel, Bojchevski, Aleksandar, Uhlig, Carsten, Bekmukhametov, Rustem, Kumar Karn, Sanjeev, Mahmuti, Shpend, Baghudana, Ashish, Dubey, Ankit, Satagopam, Venkata P., Rost, Burkhard
Bioinformatics 2017 v.33 no.12 pp. 1852-1858
bioinformatics, glutamic acid, mutation, valine
Motivation: The extraction of sequence variants from the literature remains an important task. Existing methods primarily target standard (ST) mutation mentions (e.g. ‘E6V’), leaving relevant mentions natural language (NL) largely untapped (e.g. ‘glutamic acid was substituted by valine at residue 6’). Results: We introduced three new corpora suggesting named-entity recognition (NER) to be more challenging than anticipated: 28–77% of all articles contained mentions only available in NL. Our new method nala captured NL and ST by combining conditional random fields with word embedding features learned unsupervised from the entire PubMed. In our hands, nala substantially outperformed the state-of-the-art. For instance, we compared all unique mentions in new discoveries correctly detected by any of three methods (SETH, tmVar, or nala). Neither SETH nor tmVar discovered anything missed by nala, while nala uniquely tagged 33% mentions. For NL mentions the corresponding value shot up to 100% nala-only. Availability and Implementation: Source code, API and corpora freely available at: Contact: Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.