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Science Papers Discuss AI in Drug Discovery, Find Two Red Panda Species

National University of Singapore researcher Dean Ho discusses the role of artificial intelligence in cancer care in Science this week. In a perspective piece, Ho describes how AI can accelerate drug discovery, for instance by leveraging genomic and chemical data in lieu of large-scale screening studies, as well as drug development by analyzing biomarker and electronic health record data to match patients to clinical trials. AI also holds potential for improving how cancer treatments are administered, helping to optimize dosing to overcome resistance. "As AI continues to be validated and a path toward widespread practice is identified, its potential to redefine the clinical standards of cancer therapy is becoming evident," Ho writes.

A genetic analysis appearing in Science Advances this week supports the classification of the red panda as two distinct species. A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed data from 65 whole genomes, 49 Y-chromosomes, and 49 mitochondrial genomes of red pandas, finding substantial inter-species genetic divergence for all three markers and correcting species-distribution boundaries. When combined with morphological evidence, the findings clearly define two phylogenetic species in red pandas: the Himalayan red panda and the Chinese red panda. The researchers also demonstrate different demographic trajectories in the two species, with the Chinese red panda having experienced two population bottlenecks and one large population expansion over time, and the Himalayan red panda having experienced three bottlenecks and one very small expansion. The Scan also covers this here.