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This content will become publicly available on April 1, 2023

Title: Interpretable deep generative models for genomics
Deep neural networks implementing generative models for dimensionality reduction have been extensively used for the visualization and analysis of genomic data. One of their key limitations is lack of interpretability: it is challenging to quantitatively identify which input features are used to construct the embedding dimensions, thus preventing insight into why cells are organized in a particular data visualization, for example. Here we present a scalable, interpretable variational autoencoder (siVAE) that is interpretable by design: it learns feature embeddings that guide the interpretation of the cell embeddings in a manner analogous to factor loadings of factor analysis. siVAE is as powerful and nearly as fast to train as the standard VAE but achieves full interpretability of the embedding dimensions. Using siVAE, we exploit a number of connections between dimensionality reduction and gene network inference to identify gene neighborhoods and gene hubs, without the explicit need for gene network inference. We observe a systematic difference in the gene neighborhoods identified by dimensionality reduction methods and gene network inference algorithms in general, suggesting they provide complementary information about the underlying structure of the gene co-expression network. Finally, we apply siVAE to implicitly learn gene networks for individual iPSC lines and uncover a more » correlation between neuronal differentiation efficiency and loss of co-expression of several mitochondrial complexes, including NADH dehydrogenase, cytochrome C oxidase, and cytochrome b. « less
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