Saturday, November 21, 2009

Semi-automatic analysis of 2D electrophoretic gels

Found a reference to my thesis from 1988.

The successful analysis of two-dimensional (2-D) polyacrylamide electrophoresis gels demands considerable experience and understanding of the protein system under investigation as well as knowledge of the separation technique itself. The present work concerns the development of a computer system for analysing 2-D electrophoretic separations which incorporates concepts derived from artificial intelligence research such that non-experts can use the technique as a diagnostic or identification tool. Automatic analysis of 2-D gel separations has proved to be extremely difficult using statistical methods. Non-reproducibility of gel separations is also difficult to overcome using automatic systems. However, the human eye is extremely good at recognising patterns in images, and human intervention in semi-automatic computer systems can reduce the computational complexities of fully automatic systems. Moreover, the expertise and understanding of an "expert" is invaluable in reducing system complexity if it can be encapsulated satisfactorily in an expert system. The combination of user-intervention in the computer system together with the encapsulation of expert knowledge characterises the present system. The domain within which the system has been developed is that of wheat grain storage proteins (gliadins) which exhibit polymorphism to such an extent that cultivars can be uniquely identified by their gliadin patterns. The system can be adapted to other domains where a range of polymorpic protein sub-units exist. In its generalised form, the system can also be used for comparing more complex 2-D gel electrophoretic separations.

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