34ºF

Video game players help advance genetic research

(AP)

DETROIT – It could be the perfect excuse for countless teenage boys obsessed with video games.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal are recruiting video game players to help advance genetic research in diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer.

The web-based video game Phylo was developed by computer science professor Jérôme Waldispuhl.

In Phylo, players arrange multiple rows of colored blocks that represent actual sequences of human DNA. 

Researchers said humans have evolved to recognize patterns and solve visual problems efficiently.   The game asks players to sort sequences that have been aligned by computers, in hopes of spotting mistakes.

The project has had more than 500,000 visits to the website and has provided about 350,000 solutions to help improve the alignment for 521 genes.

To play the game, click here.