Science for the win! Players of EteRNA win points by submitting experiments to a real biochemistry lab and using the data.

EteRNA

Science for the win! Players of EteRNA win points by submitting experiments to a real biochemistry lab and using the data.

Online Video Game Plugs Players Into Real Biochemistry Lab

John is a Science contributing correspondent.

Crowdsourcing is the latest research rage—Kickstarter to raise funding, screen savers that number-crunch, and games to find patterns in data—but most efforts have been confined to the virtual lab of the Internet. In a new twist, researchers have now crowdsourced their experiments by connecting players of a video game to an actual biochemistry lab. The game, called EteRNA, allows players to remotely carry out real experiments to verify their predictions of how RNA molecules fold. The first big result: a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, bearing the names of more than 37,000 authors—only 10 of them professional scientists.

For the full story, see this week's issue of Science.

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