Key points from article :
Protein’s function depends on its shape, which traditionally takes years to discover via lab work.
DeepMind's AI program "AlphaFond" can predict how proteins fold into 3D shapes.
This will help tease apart the mechanisms that drive some diseases.
The algorithm was trained on a public database containing 170,000 proteins.
In a competition 'AlphaFold' outperformed other programs with an accuracy comparable to lab work.
The program will focus initially on malaria, sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis.
“These algorithms are now becoming mature enough and powerful enough to be applicable to really challenging scientific problems." - Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s CEO.
Protein folding has been a grand challenge in biology for 50 years.
When researchers know how a protein folds up, they can start to uncover what it does.