DeepMind’s AI research lab has created the most comprehensive human protein map to date using artificial intelligence.
Proteins are long, complex molecules that perform many tasks in the body, from building tissues to fighting disease.
Their purpose is determined by their structure, which folds like origami into complex and irregular shapes.
Understanding how proteins fold helps explain their function, which in turn assists scientists with tasks ranging from conducting fundamental research into how the body works, to designing new drugs and treatments.
Previously, determining protein structure relied on expensive and time-consuming experiments. But last year DeepMind demonstrated that it could generate accurate predictions of protein structure using an AI software called AlphaFold.
Now, the company is releasing hundreds of thousands of predictions made by the program to the public.
“I see this as the culmination of the entire 10-plus year lifespan of DeepMind,” company CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis told The Verge.
“From the start, this is what we wanted to do: make breakthroughs in AI, test it on games like Go and Atari, and apply it to real-world problems, to see if we can accelerate scientific breakthroughs and put them to the benefit of humanity.” he continued
There are currently approximately 180,000 protein structures available in the public domain, each produced by experimental methods and accessible via the Protein Data Bank.
DeepMind released predictions for the structure of about 350,000 proteins in 20 different organisms, including animals such as mice and fruit flies, and bacteria such as E. coli.
Most importantly the release includes predictions for 98 percent of all human proteins, about 20,000 different proteins.
The structure, which is collectively known as the human proteome. This is not the first public dataset of human proteins, but it is the most comprehensive and accurate.
If they wanted, scientists could download the entire human proteome for themselves, said AlphaFold technical lead John Jumper.
“There’s an effective HumanProteome.zip, I think it’s around 50 gigabytes in size,” Jumper told The Verge.
Editor : Good Fit
Writer : Aris N