Design & Technology | Science

AI programme unlocks the secrets of proteins

Building blocks: Once you know how a protein folds the options are endless. ©DeepMind

But is this technology getting too powerful? A new programme could find answers to problems like pollution, scientists say. But some warn that we could should not forget the risks.  What’s happening? Scientists around the world are very excited. For years, they have been trying to work out the shape of millions of different proteinsA kind of molecule that drives all biological processes. They make up around one-fifth of our total body mass and without them our bodies could not function. They fold into 3D shapes, making them extraordinarily complicated as a whole. from many different speciesA set of animals or plants with similar features. Members of the same species can breed with each other. . Now, an Artificial IntelligenceArtificial intelligence, or “AI,” is the ability for a computer to think and learn. With AI, computers can perform tasks that are typically done by people, including processing language, problem-solving, and learning. programme has done it for them.  Find out more The scientists hope the new technology can be used to solve many problems in the world. It could help them stop illnesses like malariaA serious parasite infection transmitted by mosquito bites. It is one of the world’s most lethal diseases. from spreading and find ways to destroy the waste we make on Earth.  But some warn that if the wrong people use it, this technology could be very dangerous. It could be used to make biological weaponsA microbe or toxic substance that causes substantial harm to humans and can be used in warfare. that could harm humans or illnesses that spread very easily.  But is this technology getting too powerful? Some say Yes! Scientists are trying to use this technology for good, but the risk of it falling into the wrong hands is too big.  Others think No! This technology could help us find the answers to huge problems on Earth. Scientists must keep working. KeywordsProteins - A kind of molecule that drives all biological processes. They make up around one-fifth of our total body mass and without them our bodies could not function. They fold into 3D shapes, making them extraordinarily complicated as a whole.

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