Jeff NcloseAuthor: Jeff N
Name: Jeff Nau
About: Jeff Nau is a main contributor to the Jace Hall Show covering pop culture and music trends in the nerd community. He has contributed to San Diego City Beat, 944, and Ill Literature, amongst others, and spends his spare time working as an artist and photographer.See Authors Posts (460)
Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl and Mathieu Blanchette, of McGill University in Montreal, have developed something called Phylo — an interactive online game which allows players to help arrange different sequences of colored blocks, in this case representing the nucleotides of a DNA strand (think Tetris, only with more reality-based results).
You don’t necessarily have to think of it as research — just like so many other online games, a number of players show up and register to play just for fun. Others come to help work in their own way towards finding a cure, and choose which disease they’d like to work on.
Here’s how it works:
Players receive a strand of different colored blocks, which represent the nucleotides of a DNA strand. By arranging and separating and connecting those colored blocks, players arrive at a sort of ‘correct answer’ which lets them know if they’ve beaten the game.
Scientists, in turn, analyze the different interpretations and solutions of the strands, and record the results. The Atlantic reports the findings as substantial, saying that “Over the past year our genetic understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer has been accelerated by thousands of video gamers thanks to an online flash game.”
So…could interactive online gaming be the key to solving other world problems? Or is the gameplay so dull it won’t motivate gamers to take action either way?
Here’s a link to the Phylo website, which should help determine your answer. It also features a tutorial that explains it a little more in depth. Happy hunting (and hopefully curing).
Post By Jeff N (460 Posts)
Jeff Nau is a main contributor to the Jace Hall Show covering pop culture and music trends in the nerd community. He has contributed to San Diego City Beat, 944, and Ill Literature, amongst others, and spends his spare time working as an artist and photographer.
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