AI Leads Breakthrough In Genetic Research
Proteins are the building blocks to every fundamental biological process necessary for life to exist. Proteins are responsible for a variety of things, ranging from the creation and maintenance of cells to serving as signal and receivers for communication between cells. Proteins consist of long chains of amino acids and perform specific tasks based on the 3D structure of folding themselves, determining how they function and interact with other molecules.
Because the precise shape of a protein is fundamental to their function, extensive research is being conducted into uncovering the the shapes and how we can manipulate them. Predicting how proteins fold themselves based on their amino acid sequence has been advanced in recent years by computational methods. However, even with advancements in computational methods, we are still very limited in terms of the breadth and depth to which we are able to predict the fold of proteins. But new research from Harvard may be the key to predicting the folding sequence. A scientist from the Harvard medical school has used AI to predict the structure of any protein based on its amino acid sequence.
The AI method used in the algorithm is known as deep learning and could improve the current predictive methods by making them a million times faster with the same accuracy.v"Protein folding has been one of the most important problems for biochemists over the last half century, and this approach represents a fundamentally new way of tackling that challenge," said Al-Quraishi, an instructor in systems biology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School.
With breakthroughs and advancements like this, it is only a matter of time before we are able to gain a deeper understanding of how proteins work. With further research and time invested into the AI algorithm, we may even be able to flawlessly predict and manipulate the protein folding sequence for specific uses. More opportunities are revealing themselves as AI is slowly being integrated into almost every aspect of our lives.