Understanding the mechanisms responsible for a cellular behaviour often begins with observations of genes and gene products. Depending on the type of experiment, the number of resulting genes can be small, but increasingly, researchers are faced with many thousands of measurements, as in the case of transcriptomic or protein-DNA binding observations. Here, we describe ways to pair experimental results consisting of one or more genes with analysis tools with the overall aim being to make results more biologically interpretable. In certain cases, experimental approaches such as screens for essential genes can generate one or a few ‘genes of interest' and there is a desire to understand their relationship to one another as well as discover links to additional, interesting genes. To this end, ‘GeneMANIA' is a web tool that accepts gene names and returns a network visualization of related genes based on similarity in expression, localization, protein domains and those involved in physical interactions. Likewise, ‘PCViz' is a web tool that displays a network of interactions drawn from Pathway Commons, a web resource for pathway and interaction knowledge. In cases where experiments generate a lengthy list of genes, for instance, transcriptomic measurements, there is a desire to understand their relevance to a phenotype of interest. Pathway enrichment analysis methods aim to summarize gene lists as pathways, which have a closer link to cell function. An online ‘Guide' by Pathway Commons includes workflows that illustrate how to chain together software tools to identify pathways from the corresponding gene-level data then organize and summarize the pathway-level results in an interactive visualization known as an Enrichment Map. For those wishing to drill-down to individual pathways, Pathway Commons offers a set of web apps, including ‘Search' that enables users to query by keyword and visualize ranked search results. Ongoing development of web apps aims to enhance the accessibility to pathways and integrate support for analysis and visualization of experimental data. The full complement of data, tools and resources offered by Pathway Commons in support of pathway analysis are described.
Citation Format: Jeffrey V. Wong, Augustin Luna, Emek Demir, Igor Rodchenkov, Özgün Babur, Chris Sander, Gary D. Bader. How can you interpret gene lists from -omics experiments [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 1284.