The mission of the free mobile game “Play to Cure: Genes in Space” is to collect a fictional substance dubbed Element Alpha, which represents genetic cancer data that might underpin certain types of cancer. Developed under the guidance of the Cancer Research UK, the game requires players to map their routes as they fly through space collecting Element Alpha.
The players are actually helping scientists spot patterns in gigabytes of genetic information from thousands of tumors. By finding the best route to pick up the most Element Alpha, players plot a course through genuine DNA microarray data. Players end up analyzing significant amounts of genetic data that would have taken scientists hours to do.