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Really Neat Application
January 12, 2011 7:32 PM   Subscribe

EterRNA (reg. req) is a game, of sorts, that asks you to design complex new ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules, with the chance to have your efforts synthesised by Stanford University. A successor to the protein-folding of FoldIt. There's some background info at the NYT.
posted by Sparx (10 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice, I was going to post this tonight. The puzzle aspect of it is super engaging, but I wish there was a bit more explanation of the science behind it - why does the RNA curl the way it does, for example?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:36 PM on January 12, 2011


...a curling Fe?
posted by ~Sushma~ at 8:43 PM on January 12, 2011


This is one of those puzzle games where I just seem to muddle through for 20 minutes and then just as I'm getting into it I hit a spot where it becomes apparent that I have absolutely no idea how to play the game or solve puzzles or even which one is G and which one is U. I enjoyed the first 20 minutes* though. Wish I understood the science. Just another subject to add to my list.

*18 minutes, actually.
posted by doublehappy at 1:48 AM on January 13, 2011


This is great. Only problem is it's distracting from my actual biology software work.
posted by kersplunk at 2:48 AM on January 13, 2011


As a game designer, I'm really, really impressed with how playable this is, given the source material.

I'm also a bit miffed that it's keeping me awake, when I have plans to demonstrate one of my own games at a game store tomorrow.
posted by NMcCoy at 5:05 AM on January 13, 2011


What an odd metafilter thread-->more favorites than comments!

I'll take that to be a good sign ;)
posted by DavidandConquer at 6:26 AM on January 13, 2011


Cool. I don't remember them teaching us about the G-U wobble pair.
posted by exogenous at 6:41 AM on January 13, 2011


The puzzle aspect of it is super engaging, but I wish there was a bit more explanation of the science behind it - why does the RNA curl the way it does, for example?

The RNA folds up because it's prefers to form double stranded structures compared to single stranded ones. This is because in the double stranded form the bases are stacked up over each other instead of exposed to water. Just like oil when mixed with water will quickly separate into two layers, the nonpolar bases prefer to have as little surface exposed to the water as possible.

The rules of RNA secondary structure folding (base pairing) are very straightforward and secondary structure can be predicted with reasonable accuracy especially when compared to proteins. However the tertiary structure (3 dimensional folding) is not so straightforward and I'm curious to see how that game handles that aspect.
posted by euphorb at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


GUAC!
posted by not_on_display at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2011


Just created FoldMe, a group for Mefites playing this, should anyone wants to join.
posted by xchmp at 7:15 AM on January 15, 2011


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