Welcome to Phylo!


We call this project Phylo - A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics, but don't let the fancy name scare you; really, it's just an interactive game that lets you contribute to science. All you need is a keen eye and some spare time.

The Problem. Genetic sequences are difficult to understand and so to decipher their structure, we need to compare them to detect any similar regions they may have. Similar regions may indicate important elements of our genetic code. We have several genomes to align and we call this the multiple alignment problem.


Play the game


We abstract the multiple alignment problem to a game where the goal will be to align words made by pieces of different color instead of letters representing the genetic code (A,C,G,T). The sequences are displayed on a grid where you can only move them horizontally. Your goal will be to create columns with the same colour. However this is not always possible. Sometimes you will have to put different colors in these columns and you will be slightly penalized. More importantly, you will also need to create "gaps" (unoccupied positions in the grid). These gaps are also unavoidable and are strongly penalized. You goal is thus to find the best tradeoff between aligning color and creating gaps. The game works as follows: At the beginning you start with two sequences. You will try to find the best alignment and beat the score obtained by the computer. When you will succeed the star at the bottom-right will be illuminated - click on it to jump to the next stage. A new sequence is then added, and you now align three sequences. You will repeat the process until you have aligned all sequences.


  • You can choose a puzzle to solve from the disease you want to treat.
  • A high score section (top right of the menu) show the best contributors.


If you aren't all that interested in the science behind our approach, click here to dive in and play now. Otherwise, you'll find plenty of information about the project on the about page.

Have fun!