Eterna, an online game to design RNAs
"By playing EteRNA, you will participate in creating the first large-scale library of synthetic RNA designs. Your efforts will help reveal new principles for designing RNA-based switches and nanomachines -- new systems for seeking and eventually controlling living cells and disease-causing viruses. By interacting with thousands of players and learning from real experimental feedback, you will be pioneering a completely new way to do science. Join the global laboratory!
Challenge puzzles ask you to design RNA sequences that fold up into a target shape on your computer, similar to previous scientific discovery games such as Foldit. Many of these puzzles could be solved by existing computer programs. So why are you working on them? Two reasons. First, these puzzles provide a crucial training ground that bridges the gap between the tutorials and the Lab. Second, many existing computer programs take a huge amount of time to solve large RNAs, and you are very likely to find better, faster ways. Consider publishing your solution method, which we can code up as an automated algorithm and test against existing computer programs.
Lab Puzzles are how Nature scores in EteRNA.The Lab asks you to solve the real RNA design problem. By actually creating your solutions, experimentally testing how they fold, and then giving you access to experiment results, the Lab exposes the gap between current computational models and reality. There has never been a game like this before. The Lab challenges you and your team to develop hypotheses which explain this gap -- and tests you on the next rounds. By advancing and testing hypotheses about when RNAs correctly fold in vitro, you are helping scientists understand the mysteries surrounding RNA folding and eventually paving the way towards new, complex, and medically useful biomolecules out of RNA."