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Online Game Drives Genetic Research

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posted on Dec, 2 2010 @ 10:25 PM

Playing online can mean more than killing time, thanks to a new game developed by a team of bioinformaticians at McGill University. Now, players can contribute in a fun way to genetic research. "There are some calculations that the human brain does more efficiently than any computer can, such as recognizing a face," explained lead researcher Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl of the School of Computer Science.

"Recognizing and sorting the patterns in the human genetic code falls in that category. Our new online game enables players to have fun while contributing to genetic research -- players can even choose which genetic disease they want to help decode."

Beyond offering the general public an opportunity to get involved in this research, the game is also useful for teaching the next generation of genetics researchers about their field. "The precise genetic cause of most diseases is not known, but thanks to Phylo gamers, this research could be significantly improved," said Dr. Alain Denise, a Bioinformatics and Computational Biology researcher at the University of Paris-Sud 11

I just played the game, and it seems to me that it is basically lining up color-coded blocks. Im not really sure how this ties into research.

Maybe someone playing the game will decode a major disease?

posted on Dec, 3 2010 @ 06:26 AM
Sounds like something akin to, where you use the 'power of the internet' to do research that computers and a small number of people can't accomplish, but thousands of people can easily accomplish. SETI has also used the internet for its research with seti@home, a screen saver program that scans signals while your screensaver is running.

I haven't played the game yet, but I'll check it out.

posted on Dec, 3 2010 @ 12:46 PM
reply to post by links234

Ive never heard of galaxyzoo, but Ive run SETI on my computer for a few years.

I wonder how succsessful programs like these are?

posted on Dec, 3 2010 @ 12:56 PM
reply to post by buni11687

Very interesting and novel.

Something along the same lines ....

Human Computation

Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005.
Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs.
This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human...

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