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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fold.it Gamers Solve AIDS Puzzle

            If you’re looking for an example of “thinking outside the box,” look no further than Foldit. Foldit is an online collaborative computer game designed by researchers at the University of Washington. Players are asked to determine the complex 3-dimensional structure of proteins that cause diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

            Sounds riveting, huh? Do you have to have a PhD in Microbiology to play? Actually, the PhD’s worked on figuring out the structure of a specific protein important to AIDS research for more than a decade and failed. It only took gamers, many who hadn’t taken a biology class since high school, about three weeks to create an accurate 3-D model of the complex protein. Wow!

            If you have a talent for visualizing and manipulating 3-dimensional objects, Foldit may be just the game for you. I’m sure you’ll find it more challenging than planting virtual crops in virtual plots. (Although I must say that Farmville can be very relaxing, if that’s what you’re seeking.) You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you helped researchers get one step closer to finding a cure for AIDS. Now that’s a game.

Check out the game: http://fold.it/

Read more about the AIDS protein success:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20108763-10391704.html

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