Serious Games for Solving Protein Sequence Alignments - Combining Citizen Science and Gaming

  • Martin Hess
  • Josef Wiemeyer
  • Kay Hamacher
  • Michael Goesele
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8395)


A fundamental task in computational biology is the identification of similarities between multiple protein sequences, to get insight into their functional, structural and evolutionary relationships. These similarities can be revealed by aligning the sequences. This alignment is a NP-hard problem.

In this paper, we present an improved game approach to solving large protein sequence alignments with the concept of citizen science. We abstract the alignment problem into a kind of puzzle, that can be solved even by non-expert players. Due to the early stage of development our approach is primarily focused on usability and game experience. We evaluated our game prototype by a user study with a convenience sample of 20 persons. This study showed, that our prototype is already capable to elicit fun and to deliver a true game experience despite its early stage. Some issues have been revealed requiring further improvement.


Serious Games Bioinformatics Multiple Sequence Alignments Protein Sequences Citizen Science Game Experience Game Evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Hess
    • 1
  • Josef Wiemeyer
    • 3
  • Kay Hamacher
    • 2
  • Michael Goesele
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceTechnische Universität DarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTechnische Universität DarmstadtGermany
  3. 3.Department of Human ScienceTechnische Universität DarmstadtGermany

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