Over a decade after the Human Genome Project (HGP), scientists have no trouble sequencing DNA. But a new AI tool released by Google could make analyzing Genomic data more accurate than ever before. In the 15 years since the human genome was first sequenced in a historic scientific achievement, genomic sequencing has become relatively routine, with huge genomes being sequenced at incredible speeds. However, sorting through nucleotides and making educated guesses about their use can only get us so far. On December 4, Google released a tool that may help: DeepVariant, which utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and machine learning to more accurately build a picture of a person’s genome from sequencing data. Machine learning is an application of AI that allows systems to improve without external programming or interference. By automatically identifying small insertion and deletion mutations and single base pair mutations, identified by a rapid method of genetic analysis known as high-throughput sequencing, Google’s new AI can reportedly create an accurate picture of a full genome with little effort. Brad Chapman, a research scientist at Harvard’s School of Public Health who tested an early version of DeepVariant, told MIT Technology Review that one of the difficulties in other sequencing programs lies “in difficult parts of the genome, where each of the [tools] has strengths and weaknesses. These difficult regions are increasingly important for clinical sequencing, and it’s important to have multiple methods.”

In the early 2000’s, when genome sequencing became widely available for the first time, scientists lacked the ability to interpret the data being collected. Read more here…

thumbnail courtesy of futurism.com