Millions of Gamers Advance Biomedical Research

Largest global citizen science project accelerates knowledge of human microbiome

Leveraging gamers and video game technology can dramatically boost scientific research according to a new study published April 15 in Nature Biotechnology. 4.5 million gamers around the world have advanced medical science by helping to reconstruct microbial evolutionary histories using a minigame included inside the critically and commercially successful video game, Borderlands 3. Their playing has led to a significantly refined estimate of the relationships of microbes in the human gut. The results of this collaboration will both substantially advance our knowledge of the microbiome and improve on the AI programs that will be used to carry out this work in future. The open-access Nature Biotechnology article is titled “Improving Microbial Phylogeny with Citizen Science Within a Mass-Market Video Game.”

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