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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spotting Viruses with Machine Learning

A further indication of the value of pattern recognition ...

Machine Learning Spots Treasure Trove of Elusive Viruses 
In Nature  by Amy Maxmen

Researchers have applied artificial intelligence to the discovery of nearly 6,000 previously unknown species of virus. Simon Roux at the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute trained computers to identify viral genetic sequences from the Inoviridae family. He gave a machine-learning algorithm two sets of data, including 805 genomic sequences from known Inoviridae viruses, and about 2,000 sequences from bacteria and other types of virus, so the program could learn to differentiate between them. The model was then fed metagenomic datasets, and the computer retrieved more than 10,000 Inoviridae genomes, clustering them into groups indicative of different species. A separate study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil used machine learning to identify viruses in compost piles at the city's zoo, by programming an algorithm to look for a few distinguishing characteristics of virus genomes. Following training, the computer recovered several genomes that appeared to be new. .... " 

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