DeepMind partners with EMBL-EBI in bid to revolutionise biology
Cambridge has made another major scientific advance which could herald a new era for biology on the scale of the Human Genome breakthrough.
Just as the Human Genome discovery marked the beginning of a revolution in genomics, the AlphaFold Protein Structure Database – set to host millions of protein structures predicted using artificial intelligence – could prove a step change for biology as we know it.
The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), based at Hinxton and Google’s DeepMind, founded in Cambridge but now headquartered in London, have created AlphaFold which uses artificial intelligence to predict 3D protein structures.
In collaboration with EMBL-EBI, DeepMind has made the AlphaFold protein predictions, source code and methodology freely and, crucially, openly available to the global scientific community through the AlphaFold database.
The initial release contains more than 350,000 protein structures, from human and other species of biological interest, and this will expand to millions of proteins in the coming months.
DeepMind was co-founded by Queens’ College alumna Demis Hassabis and was acquired by Google in 2014 for more than $400m. DeepMind’s programs have learned to diagnose eye diseases as effectively as the world’s top doctors, have saved 30 per cent of the energy used to keep data centres cool, and predicted the complex 3D shapes of proteins - which could one day transform how drugs are invented.