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Foldit Game

June 12, 2008

A new web-based computer game could lead to breakthroughs in medicine.


Video games that benefit science… I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If you think video games are a mindless waste of time, you’re in for a big surprise. A new web-based computer game is tapping into the collective problem-solving skill of players around the world to untangle the mysteries of medically important proteins. Biochemist David Baker of the University of Washington and his team developed the game, called Foldit.

DAVID BAKER (University of Washington):
When you play the game, you try to guide the protein into its highest scoring, lowest energy structure, and you can do this with the mouse or various other tools.

His team is now developing a version of the game that allows players to design new proteins that could be useful in curing disease. You can try the game for yourself on the web at F-O-L-D dot I-T. You never know, you might just win the next Nobel Prize in medicine. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.