Genes in Space. Play a game. Help cure cancer!

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Play to Cure: new iOS game lets players help cure cancer as they surf through space
[Via AppleInsider]

British charity Cancer Research UK on Wednesday released Genes in Space, an intergalactic perpetual flight game for Apple’s iOS that leverages users’ in-game activity to search out patterns in DNA microarray data.

Gamers are put in command of a spaceship and sent on a mission to collect “Element Alpha,” a fictional material that helps power the space exploration effort. The valuable element can be bought and sold on an in-game market for credits that allow users to upgrade their ship with faster engine, more powerful weapons, or stronger shields. 

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What is cool about this is that it is not directly obvious people are doing sciencetific analysis. They are just play a game.

Here is the trailer:

It wors because what it does is try and identify patterns. we have huge amount of gene expression data and we need to correlate patterns with disease

Programmers try and write alogorithms using heuritstics to do this, from the top down.

But humans are incredibly good at finding patterns. Having thousandss of humans almost sumultaneously looking for pattersn can actually find the pattern faster than trying to write the best program.

So, play a game and by playing you will be pulling a John Henry and showing ow a human being can outdo a computer.

All while collecting necessary space elements.