Lisewski, A.M. et al. Cell 158, 916–928 (2014).

Assigning function to genes remains a big challenge in biology. Researchers often turn to gene or protein networks to infer the role of a particular gene. Local network analysis identifies the function of a network node by existing annotations, which can be insufficient. Global network analysis looks for relatedness over an entire network and is therefore more sensitive, but it is also more computationally expensive and thus restricted to networks of no more than several thousand nodes. Lisewski et al. circumvent this limitation by using a compression scheme that eliminates redundancies between and within networks. This allowed them to analyze networks of genes from hundreds of genomes. As demonstration, they identified the function of a Plasmodium falciparum antigen with potential as a drug target.