DeepMind is releasing a free expanded database with its predictions of the structure of nearly every protein known to science, the company, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, announced today.
DeepMind transformed science in 2020 with its AlphaFold AI software, which produces highly accurate predictions of the structures of proteins — information that can help scientists understand how they work, which can help treat diseases and develop medications. It first started publicly releasing AlphaFold’s predictions last summer through a database built in collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). That initial set included 98 percent of all human proteins.
Now, the database is expanding to over 200 million structures, “covering almost every organism on Earth that has had its genome sequenced,” DeepMind said in a statement.
” You can consider it to cover the whole protein universe,” Demis Hashibis, DeepMind’s CEO, stated during a briefing. “We’re at the beginning of a new era now in digital biology.”
Protein structures from AlphaFold are already widely used by research teams around the world. These structures are used in research such as the malaria candidate or the honey bee health. Pushmeet Sharma, DeepMind’s head of AI for science, stated in a statement that AlphaFold was the greatest contribution AI has made towards scientific advancement.
Alphabet continues to build on the success of AlphaFold. The company Isomorphic Labs , which was founded by Alphabet , will use AI tools to aid drug discovery. Although it is separate from DeepMind’s, they will work together. DeepMind also set up a lab at The Francis Crick Institute, where researchers can run experiments testing the information from the AI system. Having access to pre-determined protein structures provides scientists with an advantage in their research. This is useful for those who are trying to figure out how complicated processes in the body work or what molecules could be targeted to combat pollution. Eric Topol (founder and director, Scripps Research Translational Institute) stated that “with this new addition to structures, we can expect further biological mysteries being solved every day.”
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