Play This Game, Help Save Lives

Illustration for article titled Play This Game, Help Save Lives

Phylo looks like just another minimalist Flash game that has you moving blocks around, but under the hood, every time you click something, you're helping save lives.

How? Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz are tracking the game, because how players arrange the various coloured blocks helps them compare genome sequences in a number of animal species, a vital step in the quest to cure genetic diseases like MS, cancer and heart disease.

The game was designed by bioinformaticians at McGill University in Canada.

While it sounds both crude and painfully slow compared to the use of a supercomputer, turns out supercomputers aren't as good as humans at recognising the visual differences between the various animals you need to match on-screen, so while our progress is slower than that of a machine, it's also more accurate.


Play Flash Game Phylo, Help Trace Genetic Disease [Wired]

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I get more points by just sliding all the blocks to the left than when arranging them by colour... I don't understand.

And yes, I did play the tutorial, but it doesn't help at all.