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The Hidden Genetic Code

by Amir Bitran figures by Daniel Utter Proteins, the molecules that sustain all life, are similar to cars and other machines in an important way: they require a specific, well-defined structure to function. Obviously, a random pile of car parts cannot be driven. And similarly, a protein that is not assembled correctly cannot perform crucial tasks like producing energy, supporting cell structure, and generating electric signals. In … Continue reading The Hidden Genetic Code

Origami and protein folding have a lot in common. You always start with a flat sheet of paper (a string of proteins), but depending on a lot of variables like the steps you take, or the size or thickness of the paper, the final products can differ drastically.

Foldit players beat scientists in determining a protein’s shape

Eight years ago, a team at the University of Washington developed Foldit, a protein folding game that pits gamers against scientists and computer algorithms. Proteins, which are made up of a string of building blocks, called amino acids, form much of the core machinery of cells. When immersed in water, protein chains adopt a variety of shapes that enable them to perform their cellular roles. … Continue reading Foldit players beat scientists in determining a protein’s shape