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Fascination Friday: Crowdsourced Protein Folding with “Foldit”

August 02, 2013

Here’s a great story from big data visualization blog, Big Data Viz.

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Department of Biochemistry have developed an online game that allows the general public to assist in important scientific research, simply through play. The game, known as “Foldit,” has players fold virtual shapes into unique configurations with properties scientists are looking for. The closer a player comes to developing a protein structure with those values, the higher their score.

Since proteins and their various functions are at the root of so many illnesses, players have the potential to directly contribute to the prevention and treatment of disease. According to the story in Big Data Viz, researchers have already created “an enzyme with more than 18-fold higher activity than the original,” just using designs created in Foldit.

Data management, a healthier world, and video games—just what we like!