Comparison of approaches for parameter identifiability analysis of biological systems

A. Raue, J. Karlsson, M.P. Saccomani, M. Jirstrand, J. Timmer, Bioinformatics, May 2014, 30(10), 1440-8.


Modeling of dynamical systems using ordinary differential equations is a popular approach in the field of Systems Biology. The amount of experimental data that are used to build and calibrate these models is often limited. In this setting, the model parameters may not be uniquely determinable. Structural or a priori identifiability is a property of the system equations that indicates whether, in principle, the unknown model parameters can be determined from the available data.


We performed a case study using three current approaches for structural identifiability analysis for an application from cell biology. The approaches are conceptually different and are developed independently. The results of the three approaches are in agreement. We discuss strength and weaknesses of each of them and illustrate how they can be applied to real world problems.

Availability and implementation:

For application of the approaches to further applications, code representations (DAISY, Mathematica and MATLAB) for benchmark model and data are provided on the authors webpage.

Photo credits: Nic McPhee