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Video game unleashes millions of citizen scientists on microbiome research

Borderlands Science is a casual mini-game released within a mass-market video game that crowdsources the alignment of one million RNA sequences from the human microbiome. In 3 years, 4 million participants generated over 135 million puzzle solutions that were used to build a reference alignment and improve microbial phylogeny.

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Fig. 1: Borderlands Science framework.


  1. Cooper, S. et al. Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game. Nature 466, 756–760 (2010). This paper reports the first citizen science game.

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This is a summary of: Sarrazin-Gendron, R. et al. Improving microbial phylogeny with citizen science within a mass-market video game. Nat. Biotechnol. (2024).

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Video game unleashes millions of citizen scientists on microbiome research. Nat Biotechnol (2024).

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