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Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

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Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Old 09-19-11, 10:03 PM
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Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

People with no formal training in this field have done, in just three weeks, what the "experts" had failed to do in ten years.


http://news.yahoo.com/online-gamers-...175427367.html

Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

September 19, 2011

Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.

The exploit is published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where -- exceptionally in scientific publishing -- both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.

Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV.

Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them.

But a microscope gives only a flat image of what to the outsider looks like a plate of one-dimensional scrunched-up spaghetti. Pharmacologists, though, need a 3-D picture that "unfolds" the molecule and rotates it in order to reveal potential targets for drugs.

This is where Foldit comes in.

Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids -- the building blocks of proteins -- using a set of online tools.

To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks.

Cracking the enzyme "provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs," says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem.

"We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed," Firas Khatib of the university's biochemistry lab said in a press release.

"The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems."

One of Foldit's creators, Seth Cooper, explained why gamers had succeeded where computers had failed.

"People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at," he said.

"Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."
Old 09-20-11, 12:03 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

This article is paradoxical to the release of Gears of War 3. I applaud it.
Old 09-20-11, 01:16 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

and they STILL can't get laid!
Old 09-20-11, 03:13 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

But they can genetically draw you a 3D Map of two people having intercourse. With a bonus in ASCII.
Old 09-20-11, 10:48 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Hmmm, someone should email that article to Roger Ebert.
Old 09-20-11, 10:58 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Scientists work 9-5 with mandatory lunch breaks and office politics. Gamers never sleep.

Good for them, good for them.
Old 09-20-11, 12:58 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

I like how Grundle's first line makes it seem like the "doctors" are "idiots" and that what the medical community really needs are more gamers.

It's still a pretty cool thing, but acting like bored gamers one day decided they'd cure AIDS and then did it in a few weeks is intentionally misleading IMO.
Old 09-20-11, 01:09 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Originally Posted by Mordred View Post

I like how Grundle's first line makes it seem like the "doctors" are "idiots" and that what the medical community really needs are more gamers.

It's still a pretty cool thing, but acting like bored gamers one day decided they'd cure AIDS and then did it in a few weeks is intentionally misleading IMO.
Does not compute.
Old 09-20-11, 01:34 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Originally Posted by Crocker Jarmen View Post
Hmmm, someone should email that article to Roger Ebert.
Why? Ebert only claimed that games aren't art. He never said games weren't research.
Old 09-20-11, 07:59 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Originally Posted by Mordred View Post
I like how Grundle's first line makes it seem like the "doctors" are "idiots" and that what the medical community really needs are more gamers.
I've been to biotech firms. The workforces are pretty much the same as any office job. Lots of screwing around on Facebook, waiting for lunch breaks, etc. Cancer hasn't been cured because of the internet and texting.
Old 09-20-11, 08:34 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Sir, you just ruined the chance for a few million new jobs!!!!
Old 09-20-11, 09:53 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Originally Posted by troystiffler View Post
Scientists work 9-5 with mandatory lunch breaks and office politics. Gamers never sleep.

Good for them, good for them.
Disagree on the 9-5.
Disagree with the mandatory lunch break.
Fully agree with the office politics....
Old 09-20-11, 10:44 PM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

If they stuck some enzymes in Dead Rising, grundle could solve EVERYTHING!
Old 09-21-11, 01:35 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Originally Posted by Mordred View Post
I like how Grundle's first line makes it seem like the "doctors" are "idiots" and that what the medical community really needs are more gamers.

It's still a pretty cool thing, but acting like bored gamers one day decided they'd cure AIDS and then did it in a few weeks is intentionally misleading IMO.

But that is what's in the article.
Old 09-21-11, 03:42 AM
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Re: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

They

Like every single one of you aren't gamers yourself.

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