gamers find HIV enzyme structure

FoldIt is a fun-for-purpose video game developed in 2008 by Uni Washington. In it gamers divide into competing groups and try to solve scientific puzzles using online tools.

They figured out the 3D structure of a monomeric protease enzyme, an essential protein in construction/replication of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV. Finding 3D structures of proteins allows to understand causes and potential cures of viruses.

Foldit creator Seth Cooper explained the success of gamers by saying:

People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at.

Until then only a 2D structure was known using microscopes.

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