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Quantum Computing Used to Predict Gene Relationships

Research could help understand mutation and disease, and stall cancer cell growth

Berenice Baker

November 30, 2023

1 Min Read
Researchers used quantum computing to predict the effect of activating or deactivating a gene on other genes
Researchers used quantum computing to predict the effect of activating or deactivating a gene on other genesGetty

Genetic research scientists at Texas A&M University have used quantum computing to predict previously undiscovered links between genes. The method could offer insights into animal and human medicine including helping find new ways to stop the growth of cancer cells.

They used computing technology to map gene regulatory networks (GRNs), which show how genes can cause each other to activate or deactivate. If one gene is switched on or off, it could affect a number of other genes further down the line.

Insight into the way genes interact could provide new therapies that involve switching off or triggering genes, including slowing the growth of cancer cells.  

Quantum computing enabled the researchers to investigate more quantum networks that has been possible using classical computing and discover new links between genes and the results were shown to better match predicted behaviours.

Previous classical methods had only been able to compare two genes at a time. This means it could miss steps in a sequence and incorrectly link the effect of activating one gene to the results observed in another gene.

Quantum computing uses the property of superposition, where a qubit can exist in a state between on and off, which means it can more readily simulate interacting genes in active and inactive states.

Related:Quantum-Enabled Digital Twin Boosts Green Hydrogen Production

The team plans to use the new quantum computing modelling method to understand more about how healthy cells work to create a baseline model. They then plan to compare healthy cells to ones with disease or mutations.

This article first appeared in IoT World Today's sister site, Enter Quantum.

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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