Crowdsourcing Molecular Genetics Problems

Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists, MSNBC

"Video-game players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years, and those scientists say the accomplishment could point the way to crowdsourced cures for AIDS and other diseases. The feat, which was accomplished using a collaborative online game called Foldit, is also one giant leap for citizen science — a burgeoning field that enlists Internet users to look for alien planets, decipher ancient texts and do other scientific tasks that sheer computer power can't accomplish as easily."

Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players, Nature Sturctural & Molecular Biology

Foldit

Think about this: Several Space Shuttle Middeck experiments used gene chips to see which genes were turned on and off during exposure to microgravity. These experiments are rather straightforward to do and can be done on the ISS. Why not take this data and put it online in a fashion similar Foldit and allow crowdsourced assistance to look into what these gene changes mean and how tissues and organisms respond? FYI DARPA, NSF, and Microsoft supported this Foldit research project.

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