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TBG - The Bioinformatics Game
TBG - The Bioinformatics Game

The Quirky App Of The Day: Educate Yourself With The Bioinformatics Game

January 20, 2014

TBG - The Bioinformatics Game (Free) by ROSTLAB is an educational game that explains how proteins in our bodies are built from specific amino acid sequences. That’s right, folks. We’re going to learn something today, and it’s going to be fun. However, if science isn’t one of your strengths, don’t worry. All you need to understand is how to collect the right letter that’s the right color.

I’m not well versed in biochemistry. It’s also been a decade since high school. So, lets see how well I understand this game. Basically, the goal is to build a protein. To do this, you’ll use amino acids. I remember them being called “the building blocks of life.” In this game, amino acids really do act as building blocks.

The challenge of the game is to grab the right amino acid. These proteins differ from each other because of the order in which the amino acids are bonded. The game has each amino acid sequence mapped out for you to follow, and the amino acids are marked with a letter.

In the upper left corner, you can see which letter you need to collect next. You can also see that these amino acids have different colors associated with them. These are amino acids that are related, but they have different properties. So, it’s important to get both the right amino acid and the correct color. Otherwise, you end up with a mutant protein, and the world isn’t ready for mutants yet.

When you select a protein to build, there’s a high score in the bottom right corner. That’s the highest score that you can possibly get. The more complex proteins have higher scores than the simpler ones. This is because it takes more amino acids to build them.

Each protein looks amazing and complicated. You can read a description about what the protein is and how it functions. You have enzymes that help you to break down alcohol, proteins that help with DNA replication, and proteins that help create organic from inorganic carbon.

Some people love science. They love it as much as I love prime numbers. They get a thrill out of seeing strands of proteins and reading about their different functions. Today’s app is for those people. I hope they enjoy the science as well as the challenge.

Bioinformatics is an iPhone app, and it’s available in the App Store for FREE!

Mentioned apps

TBG - The Bioinformatics Game
TBG - The Bioinformatics Game