Gamers solve problem that riddled scientists for 15 years

Sat, 2011-09-24 17:08 by admin

Foldit molecules – Click to enlarge.

By Tessel Renzenbrinkon
Posted in: science
Tags: crowdsourcing, Foldit, gaming, protein structure prediction, science

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Players of the online game Foldit produced accurate models of an enzyme. For over a decade scientists had been trying to determine the structure of the retroviral enzyme as it unlocks important information about battling the AIDS virus.

Foldit is a multiplayer game in which gamers are challenged to solve 3D puzzles. The gamers are given a model of a protein which they can manipulate. The best model is the one with the lowest energy score. To get a feel of the game watch the video below.

Players can form teams and compete with other. But ultimately they all work together for a higher purpose. Because the true goal of the game is to use human intuition to predict the structure of existing proteins. With that knowledge scientists can develop drugs for diseases in which proteins play a role such as Alzheimer’s, AIDS and cancer. …

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