Google Releases An AI Model That Helps Scientists Predict Biomolecular Structures

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Over the last year, the Alphabet-owned tech giant Google has shifted its focus toward AI. The company has released several language models, including the Gemini Nano, Gemini Pro, and Gemini Ultra. While Nano is the most efficient, Ultra can handle some of the most complex AI workflows. Now, Google has introduced AlphaFold 3, a model that “can predict the structure and interactions of all life’s molecules with unprecedented accuracy.”

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What Is AlphaFold 3?

Google believes AlphaFold 3 will help transform humans’ understanding of the biological world and drug discovery. According to the company, the AI-based tool can help researchers predict the behavior of essential life molecules, including DNA and RNA, the two proteins that sustain life. The tool does this by creating a three-dimensional structure of the molecules. This, in turn, helps scientists visualize structural biology.

Complex protein structure visualized by AlphaFold 3

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How Does AlphaFold 3 Help Scientists Speed Up Their Research?

This is important as predicting protein structures can take about the duration of a PhD and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Google’s AlphaFold 3 is based on AlphaFold 2, which has been used to predict hundreds of millions of structures, which, per Google, would take hundreds of millions of researcher years. The previous-generation AI tool has been used to make discoveries in areas such as malaria vaccines, cancer treatments, and enzyme design. “AlphaFold 3 takes us beyond proteins to a broad spectrum of biomolecules.”

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A majority of the tool’s capabilities are available for scientists for free, through the AlphaFold Server. With a few clicks, biologists can use the tool to model protein structures, including DNA, RNA, and even smaller molecules known as ligands. Per the official blog post, the Lond-based research entity Isomorphic Labs is already collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to apply AlphaFold 3’s abilities to real-world drug designing. “It is a free platform that scientists around the world can use for non-commercial research.”

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Shikhar MehrotraShikhar Mehrotra
A tech enthusiast at heart, Shikhar Mehrotra has been writing news since college for an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Over the last four years, he has worked with several national and international publications, including Republic World, and ScreenRant, writing news, how-to explainers, smartphone comparisons, reviews, and list-type articles. When he is not working, Shikhar likes to click pictures, make videos for his YouTube channel, and watch the American sitcom Friends.

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