CITIZEN SCIENCE

We recently watched a NOVA science show about a guy who created a game that lets people from all over the world help find solutions to cancerous growths and viral infections. The solutions were tested in the lab, and when they didn’t work, people went back to their computers and found others that did work.

The latest game, “Eterna,” is available for anyone to try at EternaGeterna scienceame.org. You play by designing RNAs. (RNA is a chemical cousin to DNA that can perform a wider variety of tasks.) The idea is to engineer molecules to fight disease. The game includes animated videos to explain the science behind the game.

The earlier game, “FoldIt,” has had over 500,000 players logging millions of hours. The players helped scientists understand how proteins fold into the intricate shapes that support life. The success of the newer game “Eterna” has already led to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and may result in new solutions to disease.

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