Quantum Computing Could Make Genomic Analysis Hyper-Fast

Leading experts in the fields of genomics and quantum computing have teamed up to create new methods and algorithms for processing biological data using next-generation computing. For many genome experts, mapping out the human genome is a dream that has been out of reach since the genome was first identified. Analyzing and fully mapping the genome and accounting for diversity could superboost the understanding of DNA and lead to the development of personalized medicines.

Humanity’s limited technological capabilities in the face of something as complex as mapping out the entire human genome has kept us from achieving this lofty dream so far, however. Fortunately, consistent advances in computing technology have steadily brought us closer and closer to analyzing and understanding the human genome in its entirety.

The new interdisciplinary team also boasts skilled experts in the relevant fields of advanced algorithms, genomics and quantum computing. The team is looking to aid in the creation, augmentation, and analysis of pangenomic datasets for massive population samples. This is one of the toughest computational challenges in the genomics field, and solving it could push the field into an entirely new stratum.

As such, the new interdisciplinary collaboration stands at the precipice of the very frontier of both quantum computing and biomedical science. The partnership includes researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the University of Cambridge and has received grants worth up to $3.5 million to investigate how quantum computing can benefit human health.

The research team will focus on developing quantum computer algorithms that can accelerate pangenome production and analysis. Pangenomes are novel representations of human DNA sequences capable of capturing population diversity. Although only a minuscule percentage of DNA code differs between humans, this tiny difference is responsible for the insane level of human diversity on the planet.

However, since the reference human genome that was initially sequenced more than 20 years ago is only based on data collected from a few individuals, it does not truly reflect the human race’s diversity. Pangenomes can help alleviate the diversity problem because they are collections of countless different genome sequences capturing a population’s genetic diversity.

With the new project drawing leading experts in both genomics and quantum computing, it could potentially lead to a breakthrough that helps researchers leverage the power of quantum computing in genomics and expand their understanding of human DNA. Most importantly, such a breakthrough could open the door to the eventual development of personalized treatments for conditions that don’t typically respond to conventional medicines.

With the increasing availability of quantum computers from entities such as D-Wave Quantum Inc. (NYSE: QBTS), quantum computing could make inroads into many more medical research functions and help to improve our understanding of conditions that have remained a mystery for decades.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to D-Wave Quantum Inc. (NYSE: QBTS) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/QBTS

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