Artificial Intelligence has been an absolutely essential tool in the biomedical industry. They have been used to predict the structures of almost every protein made by the human body. This knowledge has then been extrapolated out to development of treatments and pharmaceuticals and furthering our understanding of bodily processes and disease behaviour. Understanding the shapes of proteins is critical to advancing medicine, as a slight deviation in shape can result in entirely different functionality or purpose. Only a fraction of these shapes have been worked out.

Recently, researchers have used DeepMind’s AI program called AlphaFold to predict the structures of 350,000 proteins that belong to humans and other organisms. 20,000 of these proteins are expressed in the human genome. The complete set of proteins expressed by an organism is called the ‘proteome’. DeepMind says it will predict and release the structures for more than 100 million more in the next few months—more or less all proteins known to science. 

Commenting on the results from AlphaFold, Dr Demis Hassabis, chief executive and co-founder of artificial intelligence company DeepMind, said: “We believe it’s the most complete and accurate picture of the human proteome to date.”

DeepMind has teamed up with EMBL to make the AlphaFold code and protein structure predictions openly available to the global scientific community, a move that will only help further advance research and development.

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