JiG is on Patreon and Needs You! Click here for more information


  • Review

  • Browser Games

NOVA RNA Lab


  • Currently 4.6/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.6/5 (52 votes)
Comments (4) | Views (7,295)

NOVA RNA Lab

HopefulNebula You know what's cool? Science, that's what. You know what's even cooler? Science games that can help save people's lives. As awesomely powerful as DNA is (see Play to Cure: Genes in Space for more on that), RNA is even more ancient and mysterious, and while we have a good understanding of how it works, there are so many ways it can fit together that we don't fully grasp the full range of things it can do. That's where the NOVA RNA Lab comes in. You don't need any special scientific knowledge to work in the VirtuaLab, as a wonderfully snarky computer guides you through the tutorial and the three subsequent pre-made worlds. Your goal in these early levels is to place the four RNA bases (adenine, guanine, uracil, and cytosine) so that your strand folds the same way as your goal image. Each bond and loop behaves differently, and there are different goals for each level. Once you complete the pre-made levels, the game becomes your toolbox, and you can not only build your own strands but vote on whose results actually end up being created in a real-life lab. If this sounds like Foldit or Eterna, that's because PBS teamed up with the people who made those games, and integrated a whole lot of improvements.

NOVA RNA Lab The lab's interface makes it easy to learn to play. You can paint individual bases or pairs if you like, but it's much easier to just paint entire strips by clicking and dragging along the areas you want to paint. You can switch between "goal mode" (which lets you see what your goal shape is) and "natural mode (which shows how your RNA strand will actually fold). The palette where you choose your base pairs doubles as a cheat sheet for what bases form what kind of bonds, and there's a "hint" option that walks you through each level if you get stuck. All this is to prepare you for the full lab, where you can create your very own RNA strands. What do they do? Do they fold up as expected? The world can find out! And in the process, we can maybe discover a specific protein that could cure a disease, or figure out the exact origins of life on Earth. There's more information available on the history of this game and exactly how it works at PBS's website. In short, the lab is an engaging way to learn science and maybe change the world.

Play NOVA RNA Lab

4 Comments

When I need a reminder that the world isn't all horrible, I realize that Flash games can actually change the world for the better.

Reply
Patreon VIP abfdrumz May 1, 2014 4:35 AM

Fascinating stuff. If I understand correctly, scientists don't always know if the folding will work as predicted, but the math that determines how they THINK it will work is clearly pretty wild already. (No wonder it sometimes takes a few seconds of spinning disc to figure out the effect our changes will have!) A highlight for me just now was changing a single G-C bond in the middle of a stack to a U-G (out of 221 bases) and watching my entire stable design suddenly twist itself into a crazy pretzel. The rules are obviously far more complex than any tutorial could demonstrate, and so far I find it just a little hard to believe that we total RNA noobs could stumble upon a configuration that would lead to breakthroughs, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief and give it a shot.

Reply
Leopardmask May 1, 2014 5:20 PM

This game is TOO BIG for my screen. It can't be properly shrunk with the rest of the browser page and I have to go into fullscreen mode to even see it properly. And then after each level it scrolls back up to the top of the screen and I can't see the buttons I have to press anymore. I'm playing it anyway because it's fun and for a good cause, but I wish game designers would stop making games unshrinkable and stop assuming that everyone who plays their games has big/high-res computer screens.

Reply
katherineboag May 2, 2014 6:08 AM

From the opposite perspective, I was annoyed that I couldn't make it take up my whole screen, rather than having to zoom out inside the game, or drag the molecule around :(

Reply

^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • PLEASE UNDERSTAND SITE POLICIES BEFORE POSTING COMMENTS
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
7,330 Views
8 Comments
chrpa Hello escapers, welcome to the new Weekday Escape! Almost traditionally, you start with pleasant Amajeto's room followed by another one of theirs. Nicolet settled their newest game in a small village where you need to visit all houses and interact...  ...
8,059 Views
7 Comments
chrpa Hi, it's Wednesday, it's escape time again! The first comes sweet Detarame Factory game followed by well-done (and sweet) Shigeyuki Kagamura's escape where you turn into explorer of sewerage system and successful rescuer of lost cat. Lubricants and capsuled key...  ...
7,294 Views
7 Comments
chrpa Hi, it's Wednesday and our new games are here! After lazy afternoon comes Amajeto's slow sunny morning with fresh coffee and something sweet. When you pull yourself together, it's time for a quest! Shigeyuki Kagamura's moon rabbit fall from the...  ...
7,791 Views
7 Comments
chrpa Welcome! The week is over and the new Weekday Escape is here! It's lazy summer afternoon, and Amajeto locked you in their velvetish looking living room with colorful coctails standing here and there. After the escape, you are delivered mysterious...  ...

Visit our Sponsor

Rullo

Recent Comments

 

Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Game of the week


Dreadful Tales: The Fire Within Collector's Edition

Your Favorite Games edit

add
Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives