Crowdsourcing sequence alignments in a AAA game for microbiome research

Principal Investigator: Jérôme Waldispühl
Theme : Health
Competition : Genome Canada competition - Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP)
Status : In progress
Start : Oct. 1, 2019
End: Sept. 30, 2022
Budget : $2,963,580.00

MMOS is developing crowdsourcing solutions with video game companies to help tackle research challenges. The team plans to utilize crowdsourcing on a gaming platform to offer a solution to the production of high-quality multiple sequence alignments for very large read data sets for microbiome research. Automated data analysis pipelines have limited success in generating high quality gene alignments, the time required for analysis by genetics experts is prohibitive and there is no accepted metric to decide what is the best alignment. To solve this problem, the project team will embed small alignment puzzles into a new popular video game and collect the solutions generated by the games. The millions of solutions generated by the gamers will be used to create custom algorithms to build an improved alignment of the initial sequence data. The novelty of this citizen science approach will generate significant news coverage and media exposure leading to increased game sales for MMOS and Gearbox. In addition, the crowdsourcing pipeline developed will be used to accelerate the productivity of Canadian microbiome initiatives and promote public understanding of the impact of the microbiome on our health. 


Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec 

Co-project leader:

Attila Szantner 

Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS)