"Nature is one tough umpire"

A new biology game called EteRNA "crowdsourc[es] the scientific method" by inviting players to design their own self-folding RNAs. The best designs are synthesized and tested in the lab to see how well the predicted structure plays out in the physical world - an innovation the game's creators see as an improvement over other folding games like Foldit, where there is no experimental feedback.

"Putting a ball through a hoop or drawing a better poker hand is the way we're used to winning games, but in EteRNA you score when the molecule you've designed can assemble itself," said one of the PIs behind the game, Carnegie Mellon's Adrian Treuille. "Nature provides the final score -- and nature is one tough umpire."

More: MSNBC article, CMU press release

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