FOLD IT - You don't have to have a degree to make scientific discoveries
Posted on February 24th, 2015

Proteins are the most important molecules in our bodies. Proteins are the building blocks of every structure in your body. Specialised proteins form everything from enzymes, to hormones, receptors, and antibodies. The unique properties of proteins allow them to be formed into an almost infinite number of shapes allowing them to accomplish so many important tasks.
Proteins are built by linking amino acids together in a chain. The sequence of amino acids determines what the protein will be able to do. Our genes code for the exact sequence of amino acids required to make each protein that our body produces . We already know the exact amino acid sequence for many of the most important proteins but there is more to proteins than the two dimensional amino acid sequence. In order for proteins to do their job they have to fold into a three dimensional structure like the one depicted above. That's where things get a little difficult and where science and medicine needs your help.

As furtune would have it human beings happen to be extremely good at something computers can't do well at all. Human beings are good at recognizing patterns and manipulating three dimensional objects. That's where Fold It comes in. Fold it is a game that allows players to play around with the protein in an effort to find the correct folded structure.

You don't need to know anything about chemistry or biology to play this game. You just need a willingness to experiment and try new things. The game has a few simple rules that you need to follow. As you play with the structure you gain points depending on how well your folded protein fits the rules that the game has given you.

Since it was introduced fold it players have made real scientific contributions by discovering the proper folded structure of a number of proteins. Once scientists know how a protein is folded they can use that information to find the causes and cures for many important diseases.

For more information and to play the game click on the link below




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