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Online Gamers Solve Scientific Puzzle 9/19/2011
For more than a decade, biochemists could not fully decipher the structure of a key protein. So University of Washington scientists challenged an avid group of online gamers to produce an accurate model of the enzyme.

With three furious weeks of play, the non-scientists delivered the first accurate model of a retroviral protease. Knowing the structure is a key step toward finding better anti-viral drugs.

The laboratory of UW biochemistry professor David Baker developed the game, called Foldit, about three years ago. They believed they could tap some of the brain power that puzzle-loving humans pour into computer games.