Recursion Pharmaceuticals releases open-source 300-gigabyte dataset to improve AI use in biotech

Salt Lake City-based biotech company Recursion Pharmaceuticals released a dataset of genetically altered cell images on May 6 that can be downloaded at no cost and aims to improve the use of artificial intelligence in drug discovery, STAT reports.

The RxRx1 dataset takes up approximately 300 gigabytes of space and comprises more than 125,000 images taken through a microscope. Each image shows one of four cell types — sourced from umbilical veins, retinas, liver cancer and bone cancer — exposed to a piece of RNA that had been modified to suppress one of 1,000 genes.

Recursion's open-source data aims to help other biotech companies using AI to identify specific molecules that can then be targeted with new drugs, since programming those machine learning models requires massive amounts of data that can be difficult, costly and time-consuming to obtain.

"The best models we can train are still data-limited — they're still hungry for more data," Jason Yosinski, PhD, a machine learning adviser at Recursion, told STAT. "By training on more images, models will be able to learn more subtle features."

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