Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have created an online quiz called Dizeez that asks players to match genes with the diseases they’re linked to. The hope, say researchers, is that volunteers will enrich the labeling of genes in public databases, and the wisdom of the crowd may even suggest new linkages for science to investigate.
Experimental Games with a Purpose (GWAPs) are growing. The best known is probably Foldit, a puzzle game for modeling protein folding, but there’s also Phylo, a beautiful trading card game simple enough for kids to play, that has you matching plants and animals with their correct taxonomy, and Eterna, a game that has you design molecules of RNA. The Scripps team doesn’t have the same kind of visual appeal, but they have developed a total of three GWAPs involving genes, diseases, and their cures.