September 20, 2011
Gamers use Foldit to advance AIDS research
A study published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/zoran/NSMBfoldit-2011.pdf) describes how gamers used the online protein folding modeling game Foldit (http://fold.it/portal/) to correctly discover the structure of a protein used in AIDS research.
A Gizmodo article describes the problem:
"The enzyme in question is the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus retroviral protease, and researchers have been seeking ways of deactivating it as a way of developing new anti-HIV drugs. Unfortunately, the conventional efforts of computers and scientists have come up short for years."
This is not the first problem of this type that Foldit users have solved - their website links to some other examples, as well as other current real world scientific problems Foldit players are working to solve (http://fold.it/portal/info/science)
The full citation to the article is:
Khatib, Firas, et al "Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players." Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, Published online: 18 September 2011.
September 7, 2011
Terracycle (a company that turns recycled materials into consumer goods) has partnered with Guerillapps to create a Farmville-like Facebook game based on real life recycling practices.
"Trash Tycoon has players collecting glass, organic, plastic, architectural elements, paper, and jewelry. By using other tools like worms for composting, players are shown the kinds of useful products that can be made from recyclable goods."