In a very special collaboration, Gearbox, 2K, the McGill University, Massively Multiplayer Online Science and The Microsetta Initiative at UC San Diego School of Medicine have teamed up to help map the human gut microbiome by playing Borderlands 3. More specifically, players need to play the special Borderlands Science game found onboard Sanctuary III.
By using the enormous video game and Borderlands 3 community, this project will crowdsource players skills and time to help in mapping the gut biome. This will save “medical researchers hundreds of thousands of hours in training computers to do the same.”
The mini-game functions as follows;
Borderlands Science encodes the DNA of each gut microbe as a string of bricks of four different shapes and colors. Players connect those colored shapes to help scientists estimate the similarity between each microbe.
The more puzzles players solve, the more they help decode the human gut microbiome, all while earning rewards that can be used in Borderlands 3
Dr Mayim Bialik, who starred in The Big Bang Theory, lent her voice to Borderlands Science, acting as the tutorial voiceover.
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MMOS CEO and co-founder Attila Szantner said;
We are always looking for new partners in the field of gaming, and this is a perfect fit for us. We created MMOS to connect scientific research and video games as a seamless gaming experience, and that is exactly what this has become.
I believe that Borderlands 3 players advancing microbiome research will change how we think about video games.
McGill University professor Jérôme Waldispühl said working with Gearbox was a “simple choice.”
“Working to help align the gaming community with the biomedical field allows these two passionate groups to work together toward a result that we might not realize without the collaborative effort,” he added.
The human gut microbiome contains trillions of microbes and some of these may be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, allergies, and more. By mapping the microbes, scientists will better understand them and it will assist in future studies that could lead to better diagnostics and treatments.
You can find out more about Borderlands Science at the official website.