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Computer Science

Reordering Hierarchical Tree Based on Bilateral Symmetric Distance
Published: Thursday, August 04, 2011
Author: Minho Chae et al.

by Minho Chae, James J. Chen


In microarray data analysis, hierarchical clustering (HC) is often used to group samples or genes according to their gene expression profiles to study their associations. In a typical HC, nested clustering structures can be quickly identified in a tree. The relationship between objects is lost, however, because clusters rather than individual objects are compared. This results in a tree that is hard to interpret.

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study proposes an ordering method, HC-SYM, which minimizes bilateral symmetric distance of two adjacent clusters in a tree so that similar objects in the clusters are located in the cluster boundaries. The performance of HC-SYM was evaluated by both supervised and unsupervised approaches and compared favourably with other ordering methods.


The intuitive relationship between objects and flexibility of the HC-SYM method can be very helpful in the exploratory analysis of not only microarray data but also similar high-dimensional data.