In late 2020, Alphabet’s DeepMind division unveiled its new protein folding prediction algorithm, AlphaFold, and helped solve a scientific question that had dogged researchers for half a century. In the year since its beta release, half a million scientists around the world have accessed the results of the AI system and cited them more than 4,000 times in their own studies. On Thursday, DeepMind announced that it is expanding that reach even further by expanding its publicly available AlphaFold protein structure database (AlphaFoldDB) – from 1 million entries to 200 million entries.
Alphabet has partnered with EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) for this endeavor, which covers proteins from all kingdoms of life – animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and more. According to the AlphaFold website, the results can be viewed on the UniProt, Ensembl, and OpenTargets websites or downloaded individually via GitHub, “for the human proteome and for the proteomes of 47 other major organisms important to research and global health.” for”.
“The AlphaFold is the only significant advancement in the life sciences that demonstrates the power of AI,” Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said in a press release Thursday. “Determining the 3D structure of a protein that previously took months or years now takes seconds. AlphaFold has already accelerated and enabled large-scale discoveries, including cracking the structure of the nuclear pore complex. And with this new addition of structures illuminating nearly the entire protein universe, we can expect more biological mysteries to be solved every day.
Alphafold has been put to use in many applications, from advancing leprosy and Chagas disease research to protecting bees and fighting plastic pollution. DeepMind has also developed an AI capable of beating the best human players, mastering games without knowing the rules, and even improving traffic patterns. DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleiman left the company in January to start a new venture, Inflection.AI, with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman after a former employee accused the company of ongoing sexual harassment. some time before.