This article was originally published in Start Up
GeneFormatics means to develop computational tools that will help the pharmaceutical industry predict the three-dimensional structures and corresponding functions of proteins.
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After 20 years and the efforts of thousands of researchers working on the problem structures have only been revealed for about 20,000 proteins out of 500,000 known protein sequences. When combined with the latest experimental and computational techniques, sequence and structural information provide some useful guidelines. Pharmaceutical companies are using it to sift from massive amounts of sequence information a more manageable number of biologically relevant targets; the undertaking is now known as structural genomics. Today this field is a hotbed of activity for new companies that offer improved X-ray crystallography techniques, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, annotated protein databases, computational algorithms, and combinations of all of the above.
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