When I first heard about a computer game based on folding proteins, I must admit, I was skeptical. How fun could it possibly be to manipulate a virtual protein for points? Well, after countless hours of first hand experimentation I've arrived at an answer: Very. The game is called Foldit, and luckily for one of the game's principle founders, David Baker, a biochemist at the University of Washington, thousands of others have come to the same conclusion. Baker hopes that Foldit -- launched two weeks ago -- will tap the human ability to solve puzzles, which he says surpasses computer capabilities. Eventually, Baker says, gamers may solve the structure of new proteins that may lead to cures for intractable human diseases such as HIV and malaria. The premise of Foldit is simple: See protein floating on screen. Drag parts of protein around to get it to the optimal energy state....
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