The Science Behind Foldit − Clearer explanation for people without a science background
|Opened on:||Saturday, February 27, 2016 - 23:08|
|Last modified:||Monday, February 29, 2016 - 17:30|
My problem might seem mundane, but I think I might not be alone to have been confused when reading the intro, “The Science Behind Foldit”. I am without a science background, and am in fact quite ignorant about biology. I started reading the intro and an apparent contradiction confused me:
First it says,
“Every kind of protein folds up into a very specific shape -- the same shape every time. Most proteins do this all by themselves, although some need extra help to fold into the right shape. The unique shape of a particular protein is the most stable state it can adopt.”
And later it says,
“The number of different ways even a small protein can fold is astronomical because there are so many degrees of freedom.”
Do you see how this could be confusing?
Thanks to the explanations of more knowledgeable people, I could understand what is meant exactly.
To understand where my confusion arose from, you need to know that I had no idea how a scientist “discovers” a protein. At this point, I still didn’t understand why this game exists. Maybe the intro would be clearer for people like me if it first explained that a scientist breaks the protein into smaller parts, which means the information about its shape is lost, and then analyse it. Then all they have is a chain of amino-acids, and for this reason, they do not know what shape is the most stable one. This is the point of this game, finding the most stable one (hopefully I correctly understood).