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TouchCommercial5022 t1_j1bqgpx wrote

This is all working to design proteins from the ground up to do whatever you want. The potential impact of protein damage over the next hundred years is on the order of the impact of computers over the last hundred years. Meta, Alphabet, and a few others understand this. The problem has two basic challenges:

Choose a biochemical function you want.

  1. What structure does that function provide?

  2. What amino acid sequence produces this structure?

We are getting closer to discovering the second thing with these structure prediction models. Once you can reliably answer those two questions, the world is your oyster. Do you want to catalyze hundreds of the most valuable reactions used in industrial chemical production, thereby lowering costs, increasing efficiency, increasing yields, and even breaking new ground in chemical engineering? You can. Do you want to develop new classes of drugs to treat hundreds of top-priority diseases? You can. Do you want cheap sensors that can detect anything? Do you want to design perfect crops? Do you want to turn waste into fuel? Do you want to build and repair polymers easily and cheaply? Do you want to make complex metamaterials? Do you want real and required nanotechnology? The list goes on, even the unimaginable. And, once you can answer both questions, it's very cheap to make arbitrary amino acid sequences.

Finding out would be like discovering fire for the first time. It's especially interesting because it will almost certainly happen and be perfected virtually in the next two decades (at the latest, IMO).


Vitruvius8 t1_j1bwxf7 wrote

I feel like determining the aa sequence is only the first hurdle. Proteins have meta structures. The sequence is known as the primary structure, there’s secondary, tertiary, quarternary. Which have to do with the way the protein folds around and interacts with itself and others. And they don’t always just fold up nicely into their useful structure, requires chaperone proteins that facilitate that process as well as other proteins they interact with to get it so the free energy is sufficiently low in that local minimum that is the “correct” structure for function.


Gimbloy t1_j1fx7rl wrote

It all ultimately works by sets of rules and laws which means that throwing more compute at it will eventually yield more secrets.


beambot t1_j1ec4to wrote

Sounds like a fast track to prions -- the scariest diseases nature ever discovered, the ice-nine of biological systems.