The lights are on
In a victory for gamification and science, online players of the Foldit
application managed to unravel a complicated HIV-like enzyme that scientists have puzzled over for a decade. They figured it out in three weeks flat, too.
Thanks to the efforts of the Foldit community, scientists potentially have greater insight on the monomeric protease enzyme, which is in the same family as HIV. This could allow for new treatments. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, and you can read them here.
Foldit is an application that adds a competitive element to the task of unraveling complicated proteins via PC. Traditional 2D images of these proteins are nearly useless to pharmaceutical researchers, which is why it's critical to have 3D models of the structures. Computers don't do a very good job of unpacking the shapes. That's where gamers come in. Check out the video below for a good explanation of how it works. If you'd like to try it for yourself, visit Foldit's site.
[Source: Yahoo News, via a news tip from Gian]
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Gamers, improving the world every day.
Ah. this game sounds like spacechem.
*the next day*
SPACECHEM USERS DISCOVER COLD FUSION!
good job guys
Woo! Go gamers and our need to be the best on leaderboards!
This is great. It makes you feel good that gamers had a big part in this contribution to science. I've never heard of the game but I'm going to check it out. It sounds fun.
That's a cool idea. I never heard of Foldit, but it sounds like scientists should have done this a looooong time ago.
That's fantastic! Further proof on the positive effects of gaming.
That is just too awesome. Let's hope discoveries like this just keep on coming. Glad to see gamers getting together for a greater purpose.
Congratulations to those that discovered it!
Saw this story on Attack of the Show on G4
Bow before the power of Gamers.