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Aug 26, 2021

Volume 596 Issue 7873, 26 August 2021

Posted by in categories: physics, robotics/AI

Proteins are essential to life, and understanding their 3D structure is key to unpicking their function. To date, only 17% of the human proteome is covered by an experimentally determined structure. Two papers in this week’s issue dramatically expand our structural understanding of proteins. Researchers at DeepMind, Google’s London-based sister company, present the latest version of their AlphaFold neural network. Using an entirely new architecture informed by intuitions about protein physics and geometry, it makes highly accurate structure predictions, and was recognized at the 14th Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction last December as a solution to the long-standing problem of protein-structure prediction. The team applied AlphaFold to 20,296 proteins, representing 98.5% of the human proteome.

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