McGill University released Phylo, a free, Flash-based game “in which every puzzle completed contributes to mapping diseases within human DNA” on Monday.
The project was developed by McGill students Alex Kawrykow and Gary Roumanis and is described as: “A Human Computing Framework For Comparative Genomics, but don't let the fancy name scare you; really, it's just an interactive game that lets you contribute to science.”
Phylo is similar to a connect-three puzzle game, requiring users to match coloured tiles and leave gaps in the appropriate places of various genetic codes. The puzzles users solve correspond to "sections of human DNA which have been speculated to be linked to various genetic disorders".
“If it’s not fun, people won’t play it,” Jerome Waldispuhl, an assistant professor at the McGill School Of Computer Science, said. “We wanted a good trade-off between what’s fun, and what’s the interesting information in science… so that when we provide the game on the web, people won’t think about the biological problem, but just have fun and be entertained.”