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Foldit players jump-start Ebloa research

2024389157Months before the recent Ebola outbreak erupted in Western Africa, killing more than a thousand people, scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design were looking for a way to stop the deadly virus.

For inspiration, they turned to an unlikely source: gamers.

Specifically, they asked thousands of computer-game enthusiasts worldwide to tackle an Ebola puzzle on the interactive game Foldit, a 6-year-old project that encourages people to solve puzzles for science.

Some of those solutions were so promising that researchers have started to investigate them.

The collaborative work between scientists and game players could as easily be a dead end as a breakthrough. But one thing is clear: The three-dimensional insights by Foldit players helped jump-start an effort to design proteins that could one day help neutralize the deadly disease.

Click here to read more from this August 26, 2014 Seattle Times article by Katherine Long.

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