We're finally cracking the secrets of what makes us sick

Featured in Tech Insider, Oct 26, 2015

Scientists all over the country are pushing for new ways to understand genomic data.

At 23andMe, researchers are collecting data from the more than one million people who have spit into a tube, sent their genetic material to the company to learn more about themselves, and consented to have their genetic information used for research.

Making sense of the links within such vast stores of data will require technologies that are only now becoming powerful enough to help.

Deep Genomics, a startup run by Brendan Frey, is leveraging artificial intelligence to help decode the meaning of the genome.

Specifically, the company is using deep learning: the process by which a computer takes in data and then, based on its extensive knowledge drawn from analyzing other data, interprets that information.

Deep Genomics' learning software is developing the ability to predict the effects of a particular mutation based on its analyses of hundreds of thousands of examples of other mutations — even if there's not already a record of what those mutations do. They're trying to build not just a Rosetta Stone that explains an as yet largely inscrutable body of text, but a way to predict how a tiny change in the letters will create something new.