Crowdsourcing science research isn’t a new thing — we’ve already seen Cancer Research UK enable anyone to help out by identifying cells through its ClicktoCure site. Now the Sainsbury Laboratory has turned genome research into a game called Fraxinus, which could help find a cure for the Chalara ash dieback disease.
Developed as a Facebook app, the game presents players with a number of colored, diamond-shaped blocks that represent the nucleotides that make up the DNA of ash trees. In each round, they have to try to match a particular string of nucleotides as best they can. Users with the nearest match get to ‘claim’ that pattern, but it can be stolen by others with a better sequence. Each sequence gives scientists insight into which genes may be immune from the disease and gives them a better shot at replenishing ash woodland.
According to the creators, Fraxinus has proved an addictive hit with young players, who are helping a good cause while playing. Are there other ways to gamify crowdsourced science research?
Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise