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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

AI Catalyzes Gene Activation Research, Uncovers Rare DNA Sequences

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Investigating DNA sequences.

Using machine learning, the researchers discovered the downstream core promoter region (DPR), a “gateway” DNA activation code that’s involved in the operation of up to a third of our genes.

Credit: Nobi_Prizue/iStock

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD)'s James T. Kadonaga and colleagues have used artificial intelligence (AI) to advance gene activation research by identifying "synthetic extreme" DNA sequences.

The researchers trained machine learning models on 200,000 established DNA sequences, then tested 50 million DNA sequences with the models to compare downstream core promoter region (DPR) gene activation elements in humans and fruit flies, exposing custom-tailored DPR sequences specific to both species.

Said Kadonaga, "There are countless practical applications of this AI-based approach. The synthetic extreme DNA sequences might be very rare, perhaps one-in-a-million—if they exist they could be found by using AI."

From UC San Diego Today
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