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Meta AI Computer Model Rapidly Predicts Hundreds of Millions of Metagenomic Proteins

Using a large language model for predicting protein structures, researchers from Meta AI have built a database containing the predicted atomic-level structures for hundreds of millions of metagenomic proteins. According to the researchers, the model — called ESMFold — can make protein predictions up to 60 times faster than other predictors including DeepMind's AlphaFold2, but with nearly the same accuracy, enabling large-scale structural characterization of vast collections of metagenomic proteins. As reported in Science this week, the team has used ESMFold to predict structures for more than 617 million metagenomic protein sequences, including more than 225 million that are predicted with high confidence, to create the open-access ESM Metagenomic Atlas. "Structure prediction at the scale of evolution can open a deep view into the natural diversity of proteins and accelerate the discovery of protein structures and functions," the authors write.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.