It is widely accepted that cellular requirements and environmental conditions dictate the architecture of genetic regulatory networks. Nonetheless, the status quo in regulatory network modeling and analysis assumes an invariant network topology over time. In this paper, we refocus on a dynamic perspective of genetic networks, one that can uncover substantial topological changes in network structure during biological processes such as developmental growth. We propose a novel outlook on the inference of time-varying genetic networks, from a limited number of noisy observations, by formulating the networks estimation as a target tracking problem. We overcome the limited number of observations (small n large p problem) by performing tracking in a compressed domain. Assuming linear dynamics, we derive the LASSO-Kalman smoother, which recursively computes the minimum mean-square sparse estimate of the network connectivity at each time point. The LASSO operator, motivated by the sparsity of genetic regulatory networks, allows simultaneous signal recovery and compression, thereby reducing the amount of required observations. The smoothing improves the estimation by incorporating all observations. We track the time-varying networks during the life cycle of the Drosophila Melanogaster. The recovered networks show that few genes are permanent, whereas most are transient, acting only during specific developmental phases of the organism. |