The New York TimesThe New York Times

AI Predicts the Shape of Nearly Every Protein Known to Science

By Cade Metz

28 Jul 2022 · 2 min read

Editor's Note

The predictions save valuable time as they "supercharge" experimentation. Scientists are using it to prepare for future pandemics.

In 2020, an artificial intelligence lab called DeepMind unveiled technology that could predict the shape of proteins — the microscopic mechanisms that drive the behavior of the human body and all other living things.

A year later, the lab shared the tool, called AlphaFold, with scientists and released predicted shapes for more than 350,000 proteins, including all proteins expressed by the human genome. It immediately shifted the course of biological research. If scientists can identify the shapes of proteins, they can accelerate the ability to understand diseases, create new medicines and otherwise probe the mysteries of life on Earth.

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