EteRNA is a collaboration between scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University that crowdsources the computationally challenging tasks of RNA design and structure prediction. The EteRNA game consists of puzzles, lab activities, player projects, strategy design, and community support.
- Main Article: Puzzles
Puzzles consist of a target structure that players attempt to satisfy by the placement of different nucleotides. An additional degree of difficulty and/or realism is afforded by a variety of restrictions placed on player solutions.
- Main Article: Lab
The RNA Lab is a section of the game where player-designed RNAs are synthesized and scored according to their folding accuracy. In lab, players design sequences to fold into a given target structure. The EteRNA community then votes on player solutions to determine which are ultimately synthesized. In each lab, computer-designed RNAs are synthesized as well. The performance of players frequently surpasses that of state-of-the-art RNA design algorithms.
Players are awarded points for the successful completion of puzzles and, eventually, their contributions to lab. At 10000 points, players unlock the ability to contribute to lab. At 20000 points, players unlock the ability to design their own puzzles. Players can also track their rank in the EteRNA community as they continue to gain points.