Monday October 21, 2019

Artificial Intelligence Discovers New Class of Genetic Mutations Behind Autism

The newly found mutations are likely to significantly increase that fraction, the researchers said

0
//

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), researchers have discovered new genetic flaws that contribute to autism in people.

Most previous research on the genetic basis of disease has focused on the 20,000 known genes and the surrounding sections of DNA that regulate those genes.

However, even this enormous amount of genetic information makes up only slightly more than one per cent of the 3.2 billion chemical pairs in the human genome.

The other 99 per cent has conventionally been thought of as “dark” or “junk,” although recent research has begun to disrupt that idea.

In their new finding, detailed in the journal Nature Genetics, the research team offers a method to make sense of this vast array of genomic data.

The system uses an AI technique called deep learning in which an algorithm performs successive layers of analysis to learn about patterns that would otherwise be impossible to discern.

The algorithm teaches itself how to identify biologically relevant sections of DNA and predicts whether those snippets play a role in any of more than 2,000 protein interactions that are known to affect the regulation of genes.

autism
“Many people with autism also have a serious intestinal illness, like diarrhea and irritable-bowel syndrome. It is consistent with our findings,” Liu said. Pixabay

“This method provides a framework for doing this analysis with any disease,” said Olga Troyanskaya, Professor at Princeton University in the US.

The approach could be particularly helpful for neurological disorders, cancer, heart disease and many other conditions that have eluded efforts to identify genetic causes.

In the case of autism, the researchers analysed the genomes of 1,790 families with “simplex” autism spectrum disorder, meaning the condition is apparent in one child but not in other members of the family.

The method sorted among 120,000 mutations to find those that affect the behaviour of genes in people with autism.

Also Read- Assam Launches Campaign to Control Diarrhoea Across the State

Among this sample, fewer than 30 per cent of the people affected by autism spectrum disorder had a previously identified genetic cause.

The newly found mutations are likely to significantly increase that fraction, the researchers said. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Robots Can Now be Conflict Mediators: Study

The study also found that the teams did respond socially to the virtual agent during the planning of the mission they were assigned (nodding, smiling and recognising the virtual agent's input by thanking it) but the longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with the virtual agent decreased

0
Artificial Intelligence Bot
Artificial Intelligence Bot. Pixabay

We may listen to facts from Siri or Alexa, or directions from Google Maps, but would we let a virtual agent enabled by artificial intelligence help mediate conflict among team members? A new study says they might help.

The study was presented at the 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication in the national capital on Tuesday.

“Our results show that virtual agents and potentially social robots might be a good conflict mediator in all kinds of teams. It will be very interesting to find out the interventions and social responses to ultimately seamlessly integrate virtual agents in human teams to make them perform better,” said study lead author Kerstin Haring, Assistant Professor at the University of Denver.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Denver created a simulation in which a three-person team was supported by a virtual agent ‘Avatar’ on screen in a mission that was designed to ensure failure and elicit conflict.

The study was designed to look at virtual agents as potential mediators to improve team collaboration during conflict mediation.

AI
“We’re beginning to see the first instances of artificial intelligence operating as a mediator between humans, but it’s a question of: ‘Do people want that?” Pixabay

While some of the researchers had previously found that one-on-one human interactions with a virtual agent therapist yielded more confessions, in this study, team members were less likely to engage with a male virtual agent named ‘Chris’ when conflict arose.

Participating members of the team did not physically accost the device, but rather were less engaged and less likely to listen to the virtual agent’s input once failure ensued among team members.

Also Read: Uber Joins Hands with DocsApp to Avail Free Medical Consultations for its Drivers

The study was conducted in a military academy environment in which 27 scenarios were engineered to test how the team that included a virtual agent would react to failure and the ensuing conflict.

The virtual agent was not ignored by any means.

The study also found that the teams did respond socially to the virtual agent during the planning of the mission they were assigned (nodding, smiling and recognising the virtual agent’s input by thanking it) but the longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with the virtual agent decreased. (IANS)