Video game players may soon become the latest line of defense against malaria. University of California researchers have developed a free, Internet-based pattern recognition game based on images of real life blood cells. Researchers hope the online tool will cut down the amount of time it now takes to distinguish infected red blood cells from healthy ones.
But UCLA isn't alone in the pursuit of crowdsourced science. At the University of Washington, developers have created a game called FoldIt, where players wrestle with ways in which proteins fold themselves into different configurations. Understanding the role that proteins play in disease can help scientists crack a pathogen's code. It can even lead to the creation of new, synthetic proteins as part of drug research.
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