Validating Candidate Gene-Mutation Relations in MEDLINE Abstracts via Crowdsourcing

March 2012
Topics: Diseases, Genetics, Informatics
John D. Burger, The MITRE Corporation
Emily Doughty, University of Maryland
Samuel L. Bayer, The MITRE Corporation
David Tresner-Kirsch, The MITRE Corporation
Ben Wellner, The MITRE Corporation
John Aberdeen, The MITRE Corporation
Kyungjoon Lee, Harvard Medical School
Maricel G. Kann, University of Maryland
Dr. Lynette Hirschman, The MITRE Corporation
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We describe an experiment to elicit judgments on the validity of gene-mutation relations in MEDLINE abstracts via crowdsourcing. The biomedical literature contains rich information on such relations, but the correct pairings are difficult to extract automatically because a single abstract may mention multiple genes and mutations. We ran an experiment presenting candidate gene-mutation relations as Amazon Mechanical Turk "HITs" (human intelligence tasks). We extracted candidate mutations from a corpus of 250 MEDLINE abstracts using EMU combined with curated gene lists from NCBI . The resulting document-level annotations were "projected" into the abstract text to highlight mentions of genes and mutations. Turkers returned results within 30 hours. We evaluated the aggregated weighted results against a gold standard of expert curated gene-mutation relations. Weighted accuracy was 82%, with the best Turker achieving over 95% accuracy. The experiment demonstrates feasibility of attracting proficient annotators and the success of the interface in facilitating these judgments.

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