Deepmind finds biology’s ‘holy grail’ with answer to protein problem

A revolution in biology and drug discovery was predicted yesterday after scientists designed a program that can visualise the structure of proteins, unlocking a window into the machinery of life.

A British artificial intelligence company has shown that it can compute the shapes that proteins fold into, solving a 50-year problem in biology.

The discovery by Deepmind was hailed by other scientists as a “stunning” achievement and a “once-in-a-generation advance”.

Proteins are the atomic machinery that power the processes of life. The exquisite shapes that they form enable them to perform roles that include speeding up reactions and, in viruses, hijacking cells. Understanding the shape they make is key to drug discovery and combating disease.

The organisers of a competition for teams attempting to work

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Tom Whipple Science Editor