Alphabet’s DeepMind unveiled its AlphaFold software in 2020, and it has since been used to create the AlphaFold Protein Structure Database (AlphaFold DB). It includes highly accurate protein structures predicted by the software. This database has been accessed by researchers to tackle real-world problems like plastic pollution, antibiotic resistance, and more. DeepMind has now partnered up with European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) to release predicted structures of nearly all catalogued proteins known to science. The AlphaFold DB now reportedly holds over 200 million structures. The applications of these findings across various fields of science are endless.
DeepMind revealed on Thursday that AlphaFold has predicted nearly all proteins known to science. The new predicted proteins include structures of plants, bacteria, animals, and other organisms. These could open new avenues for researchers that are attempting to tackle important issues like sustainability, food insecurity, and neglected diseases.
“…AlphaFold has already accelerated and enabled massive 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 each day, ” said Eric Topol, Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
The AlphaFold DB works similar to the Google search engine for researchers. It provides them instant access to predicted models of proteins. These models have been reportedly cited in important research like finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease and developing a malaria vaccine.
CEO of DeepMind Demis Hassabis believes, “…[that] AI might turn out to be just the right technique to cope with the dynamic complexity of biology.” According to the company, over 500,000 researchers across 190 countries have accessed AlphaFold DB. The company has also partnered up with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI) for “finding life-saving cures for diseases like Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease that disproportionately affect people in poorer parts of the world.”