Who Am I? AI Can Help You Find the Answer to that Question.

3 min read

Each person comes with their own human blueprint. Our DNA controls everything about us. It not only defines our physical features but might even influence our personality traits according to some new research. If we can crack the code of our DNA, we unlock a magnitude of secrets about ourselves. We can know information like which diseases are likely to impact us, and which drugs we should be using to treat them once they enter our systems. However, unlike say, the blueprint of a building, DNA can be extremely complicated, and difficult to understand. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), we can accelerate genomics research. We can find patterns in genetic data more quickly, make gene editing technology more efficient, and can begin using personalized medicine.  

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), we can start using personalized medicine, find patterns in genetic data quicker, and make gene editing technology more effective.

With AI, we can stop using cookie cutter treatments for everyone.

Humans are 99.9% the same, and 0.1% different. Even though 0.1% seems like a very little amount, it’s actually quite a lot, considering the number of base pairs a human has. We all have 3 million unique points in our DNA. If we can understand the different gene variants we have in our DNA, and how they affect us, we can begin to apply something called personalized medicine. Personalized medicine is when doctors customize treatment plans to patients. Personally, I believe we should use personalized medicine because we’re all so different. The treatments that work effectively on one person won’t work the same on another. However, it would take years to analyze the gene variants manually. That’s where AI comes in. AI can be used to analyze how the variants affect us in order to predict the probability of someone getting a certain disease, and which treatments would be the most effective in treating the diseases we’re likely to develop.

Now, I’ll answer your burning question. How does AI even analyze the dataset? Well, the data is analyzed using a subset of AI called machine learning (ML) to find patterns in the large sets of genetic data. The patterns are then transformed into computer models that make the predictions about the diseases and treatments. Using this method, we can use AI to determine a little bit more about who we are, and who we should be to avoid these diseases. Our DNA is a treasure trove of medical information about us, and if unlocked, we can learn how to change our lifestyle to avoid ever running into the diseases. Using AI, we can better understand the 0.1% of ourselves that is unique.

Using AI, patterns in genetic data can be found quicker.

Various companies like 23andMe have realized this secret, and begun to implement it for their commercial purposes. For 23andMe specifically, they’re using ML to understand genetic information on a deeper level for their clients. For instance, a while back, they were looking into how to provide a personalized analysis of how someone’s genes might impact their weight. To do this, they created a model for a genetic weight report that they would give to their clients. The company combined data from research participants and developed the model with ML. Using a model like this, patterns in genetic data can be found quicker and can provide an insight into how a person’s body processes work to determine things like weight.

Gene editing will be a breeze with AI.

Gene editing has been a hot topic since the concept of it was formed. However, even with the technological advancements, we have today with tools like CRISPR, there are still methods to improve the system. One of the biggest hurdles with gene editing is having precise and effective cutting, without affecting other parts of the DNA. Until recently, scientists had to manually test all the possible locations where cuts can be made, in order to determine the best location. This method isn’t very efficient, as it takes a lot of time, and is very expensive. However, Microsoft has created a solution to this. They’ve created and trained a computational model that analyzes patterns and the various irregularities of strings of DNA. To learn more about this method, click here. Using this, sites have been found where CRISPR can be best applied. This method allows scientists to find good sites for effective cutting, without spending as much time and money.

Key Takeaways:

  • We can understand ourselves better if we use AI to analyze our genetic data
  • With AI, genetic data is analyzed by finding patterns and then turning those into computer models
  • Once we analyze the data, life-threatening diseases that have the potential to impact us can be averted
  • We can use personalized medicine to treat these diseases
  • Commercial companies like 23andMe are using AI to analyze genetic data quicker, to help their clients to better understand themselves
  • Using AI, we can find the best locations for CRISPR to make the cuts into the DNA

When most people think of AI, they think of it eradicating us all, and taking over the world. However, it’s the key to translating our blueprints to understand ourselves better, which will help us live life to the fullest.

Ramandeep Saini Ramandeep Saini is a writer who covers topics in emerging tech, such as artificial intelligence. She’s served as a consultant to companies such as Walmart Canada and Wealthsimple in the past, using her expertise in tech to guide them towards their corporate goals. In her free time, she runs an art blog and enjoys volunteering with local nonprofits.

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