AlphaFold reveals the structure of the protein universe

It’s been one year since we released and open sourced AlphaFold, our AI system to predict the 3D structure of a protein just from its 1D amino acid sequence, and created the AlphaFold Protein Structure Database (AlphaFold DB) to freely share this scientific knowledge with the world. Proteins are the building blocks of life, they underpin every biological process in every living thing. And, because a protein’s shape is closely linked with its function, knowing a protein’s structure unlocks a greater understanding of what it does and how it works. We hoped this groundbreaking resource would help accelerate scientific research and discovery globally, and that other teams could learn from and build on the advances we made with AlphaFold to create further breakthroughs. That hope has become a reality far quicker than we had dared to dream. Just twelve months later, AlphaFold has been accessed by more than half a million researchers and used to accelerate progress on important real-world problems ranging from plastic pollution to antibiotic resistance.

Today, I’m incredibly excited to share the next stage of this journey. In partnership with EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), we’re now releasing predicted structures for nearly all catalogued proteins known to science, which will expand the AlphaFold DB by over 200x - from nearly 1 million structures to over 200 million structures - with the potential to dramatically increase our understanding of biology.


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