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Gamers outdo computers at DNA sequence alignments

ananyo (2519492) writes | more than 2 years ago

Biotech 0

ananyo (2519492) writes "In another victory for crowdsourcing, gamers playing Phylo (http://phylo.cs.mcgill.ca/) have beaten a state-of-the-art program at aligning regions of 521 disease-associated genes form different species (http://www.nature.com/news/gamers-outdo-computers-at-matching-up-disease-genes-1.10203).
The 'multiple sequence alignment problem' refers to the difficulty of aligning roughly similar sequences of DNA in genes common to many species (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_sequence_alignment). DNA sequences that are conserved across species may play an important role in the ultimate function of that particular gene. But with thousands of genomes likely to be sequenced in the next few years, sequence alignment will only become more difficult in future.
Researchers now report that players of Phylo have produced roughly 350,000 solutions to various multiple sequence alignment problems, beating the accuracy of alignments from a program in roughly 70% of the sequences they manipulated (paper http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0031362)."

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