An Integrated Laboratory Robotic System for Autonomous Discovery of Gene Function

Andrew Charles Sparkes, Ross Donald King, Wayne Aubrey, Michael Benway, Emma Louise Byrne, Amanda Janet Clare, Maria Liakata, Magdalena Markham, Kenneth Edward Whelan, Michael Young, Jem Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


Progress in laboratory automation depends not only on automating the physical aspects of scientific experimentation, but also on the intellectual aspects. We present the conceptual design, implementation, and our user-experience of “Adam,” which uses machine intelligence to autonomously investigate the function of genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These investigations involve cycles of hypothesis formation, design of experiments to test these hypotheses, physical execution of the experiments using laboratory automation, and the analysis of the results. The physical execution of the experiments involves growing specific yeast strains in specific media and measuring growth curves. Hundreds of such experiments can be executed daily without human intervention. We believe Adam to be the first machine to have autonomously discovered novel scientific knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of The Association for Laboratory Automation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2010


  • robot scientist
  • yeast growth
  • yeast metabolism
  • gene function
  • discovery
  • laboratory automation


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