B – Online gamers solve a longstanding scientific problem

Khatib F, DiMaio F, Cooper S et al. Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 2011;online publ. September 18
(doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2119)

Fold.it is a multiplayer online game that allows players worldwide to solve complex protein-structure prediction problems. A 15-year-old AIDS problem was recently solved in just three weeks by a group of online gamers. They created a model of a protein that scientists haven’t been able to model themselves, using a game-like structure. This result indicates a high potential for integrating video games into the real-world scientific process and for solving, if properly directed, a wide range of scientific problems.

Thanks to Kate Whittaker