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Gamers Solve Decade-Long Simian AIDS Mystery

Posted on September 20, 2011

It is easy to judge video gamers as a bunch of lazy couch potatoes, but these geeks can prove you otherwise. Gamers helped out a group of researchers at the University of Washington to attain a successful model of the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus retroviral protease, a protein that causes AIDS in monkeys. These gamers contributed by downloading the protein-manipulating game called Foldit, the results of which were crowdsourced by the scientists.

The dilemma of reconstructing the folded shape of M-PMV had been attempted for over a decade using the task-specific Rosetta software, but to no avail. The gamers, meanwhile, were able to create a sufficient model for molecular replacement in just three weeks. The recreation of the M-PMV model would enable scientists to further their research in preventing AIDS in monkeys, which they hope would be a key for the discovery of AIDS prevention among humans.

Source: MSNBC, via Engadget



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