With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) a German-American team of scientists deciphered some of the more elusive instructions encoded in DNA. Their neural network trained on high-resolution maps of protein-DNA interactions uncovers subtle DNA sequence patterns throughout the genome, thus providing a deeper understanding of how these sequences are organized to regulate genes. The interdisciplinary team of biologists and computational researchers from the Technical University of Munich, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and the Stanford University has shown that applying neural networks, such as those used for facial recognition, together with newly developed model interpretation techniques can be used to decipher complex instructions encoded in DNA.
First author of the publication is Dr. Žiga Avsec, member of the group of Prof. Julien Gagneur, professorship of computational molecular medicine at the TUM. Together with Prof. Anshul Kundaje from Stanford University he created the first version of the model when he visited Stanford as a guest scientist.