Gamers help scientists study genetics and disease

December 7, 2011 -

Scientists are using a web-based video game to entice gamers to assist them in the study of genetic diseases.

The game, called Phylo and launched in November 2010, allows players to rearrange colored blocks that represent human DNA. Scientists have been studying the results and will release their findings soon. 

The game has more than 17,000 registered users and more than 350,000 solutions have been found to alignment sequence problems. According to an article on MedicalXpress.com, the game was created by Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl and his students at McGill School of Computer Science:

Waldispuhl and his students came up with the idea of using a to solve the problem of DNA multiple sequence alignment because it is a task that is difficult for computers to do well. "There are some calculations that the human brain does more efficiently than any computer can. Recognizing and sorting visual patterns fall in that category," explained Waldispuhl. "Computers are best at handling large amounts of messy data, but where we require high accuracy, we need humans. In this case, the genomes we're analyzing have already been pre-aligned by computers, but there are parts of it that are misaligned. Our goal is to identify these parts and transform the task of aligning them into a puzzle people will want to sort out."

Waldisphul also said:

"Phylo has contributed to improving our understanding of the regulation of 521 genes involved in a variety of diseases. It also confirms that difficult computational problems can be embedded in a casual game that can easily be played by people without any scientific training. What we're doing here is different from classical citizen science approaches. We aren't substituting humans for computers or asking them to compete with the machines. They are working together. It's a synergy of humans and machines that helps to solve one of the most fundamental biological problems."

If you want to give scientists a helping hand, play the game.


Comments

Re: Gamers help scientists study genetics and disease

Stuff like Folding @home are good additions I think its great to leave your system on once a week to help out

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Goth_Skunk"GamerGate Came To Life When It Was Declared Dead" - http://ow.ly/OXOm806/29/2015 - 9:10pm
Goth_SkunkAnd, like the microtransactions in Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, completely optional and voluntary. http://ow.ly/OXIRH06/29/2015 - 8:12pm
PHX Corphttp://www.gamespot.com/articles/halo-5-guardians-dev-clarifies-how-microtransactio/1100-6428510/ Apparently 343's Smoking Something, They tried to Clarify the microtransactions side of multiplayer unaware that Microtransactions in $60 Games=BAD06/29/2015 - 7:54pm
MattsworknameGoth, add vox, polygon, and most print media to that list for me. Also, add msnbc to that list, as long as they have people like shults, matthews, sharpton, hayes and so forth, will not watch06/29/2015 - 7:33pm
Goth_SkunkThat's fair, I treat every article from 'The Mary Sue' in the exact same manner. As well as Polygon, Kotaku, and Gamasutra, to name a few others.06/29/2015 - 7:17pm
Infophile"www.breitbart.com..." and I'm done reading. Got better things to do with my life.06/29/2015 - 5:40pm
Goth_SkunkHarping On: The Hypocrisy And Lies of Twitter's Most Notorious 'Anti-Abuse' Activist, part 1 of 3: http://ow.ly/OXsfP06/29/2015 - 5:12pm
ZippyDSMleeGot another weapon finished up ^^ http://zippydsmlee.tumblr.com/post/122614396265/zippylabs-rushhour-automatic-poison-dart-gun06/29/2015 - 4:37pm
ZippyDSMleeI wish they would revive Shining Force as a decent Warcraft clone with TB option...06/29/2015 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeFrom my genisis days the only other TBS I enjoyed was Sorcerers Kingdom and Warsong The only down side to Shining Force as a seriers they took out towns on the Sega CD ports and later games....06/29/2015 - 4:13pm
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: Shining Force is awesome the aera damage done by mages,ect really make it shine. I miss that in ZOE:Fist of mars where there is no aera damage but you have a neat real time targeting system.06/29/2015 - 4:11pm
Goth_SkunkShaved my head for the first of many times in my life today. I refuse to bear a receding hairline: It's all-or-nothing for me with regards to my hair loss.06/29/2015 - 3:52pm
james_fudgeEZK: great game06/29/2015 - 2:51pm
E. Zachary KnightBack to my initial question, I started playing Shining Force 1. So far a pretty cool tactical RPG. I am looking forward to playing more.06/29/2015 - 1:27pm
PHX Corphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_euReGOTGk Arkham Shite (The Jimquisition)06/29/2015 - 11:55am
E. Zachary KnightPHX, Yep. That was reported on this morning.06/29/2015 - 11:16am
PHX Corphttp://www.eteknix.com/valve-now-refuses-compensate-trade-scam-victims/ -facepalm- Valve Now Refuses to Compensate Trade Scam Victims06/29/2015 - 10:43am
Andrew EisenSaw Weird Al in concert last night. That was pretty cool. Mom and I played Pikmin 3. Fantastic game. Mom, sister and I played Gone Home. Really like that one too. Mom and I also worked on leveling up our Dragon Quest 8 party to tackle the post game.06/29/2015 - 10:00am
IvresseHad my first runthroughs of the new Hellfire Citadel raid in WoW. Quite a lot of fun so far ^^06/29/2015 - 9:53am
james_fudgeDisgaea 4 as I wait for Disgaea 506/29/2015 - 8:34am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician