Foldit is an online game in which humans try to solve one of the hardest computational problems in biology: protein folding. You don't need to know anything about biology to play the game, although a little background will help. Most Foldit player are not biologists. Read about The Science Behind Foldit.
In response to the global pandemic, Foldit has been coronavirus puzzles of various types.
The puzzles so far have involved designing binder proteins to attach to the Coronavirus Spike protein and prevent infection, designing binder proteins to combat an anti-inflammatory response that can calm the "cytokine storm" sometimes triggered by the virus after infection, and predicting the 3D structure of proteins the virus is believed to manufacture, with names like NSP2, NSP6, and ORF3a. Another series of puzzles tackles binding to the spike protein of the MERS-CoV virus, which is closely related to the virus that causes COVID-19.
There will probably be coronavirus puzzles running for the foreseeable future, see the official list of puzzles for details.
See the Coronavirus FAQ for general information about the Foldit coronavirus puzzles.
Visit the fold.it, the official Foldit site to download the game and get started. Foldit runs on Windows, Mac, and 64-bit Linux. See Download-Install-Troubleshoot for install instructions. Use the feedback page if you're having trouble getting the game installed. If you're seeing "error contacting server" messages, update this feedback with details.
The video QUICK Foldit Tutorial Walkthrough from S0ckrates shows the fast path through the intro puzzles.
See Get Started Playing Foldit for more background.
Foldit's education mode features a series of puzzles that go into much more technical depth than the regular intro puzzles. (Education mode involves installing a separate version of Foldit, see For Educators on the Foldit web site.)
See Foldit Status for any issues affecting the game.
Note: this list gets updated weekly after the last puzzle expires. See the official list of puzzles for the most current puzzle info.
- Puzzle 1957: Designable Linker: Coronavirus Spike Binder, expires 24 February 2021.
- Puzzle 1958: BAM Complex with Electron Density, expires 25 February 2021.
- Puzzle 1959: Two-sided Interface Design, expires 26 February 2021.
- Design of the Month: February 2021, expires 28 February 2021. This sandbox puzzle awards no points, but challenges players to improve a symmetric tetramer design by silent gene from Puzzle 1941. Watch Foldit Lab Report #17 for more.
- As always, there are Intro Puzzles to get started, and then Beginner Puzzles which allow players to hone their skills.
- Speed max: the latest version of Foldit features performance improvements in many areas. Recipes that use lots of bands now run much faster, and there are improvements in other areas as well. It a good thing, since many current puzzles have more than 200 segments, a size where thing tend to get a bit sluggish.
- Rise of the Machines: see CASP Results: AlphaFold has solved the structure prediction Grand Challenge on the Foldit Forum. AlphaFold seems to have this protein prediction thing in the bag, one more reason Foldit no longer participates in CASP.
- About time: In Big Announcements for the New Year the Foldit team says that GUI recipes will be going away in 2021. "V1" recipes, written in the original version of the Foldit Lua Interface, are also on the chopping block. Now's the time to upgrade your favorites to Lua "V2". Check out GUI to Lua - converting Co lapse's Settle for an example of adapting a GUI recipe to Lua V2. The long-awaited new Foldit website will also launch in 2021, and the new site won't include any GUI or V1 recipes.
- Seein' stars: the long-awaited "quality of life" release is here! Stars twinkle on the splash screen, and that's only the beginning. There are so many changes that the wiki won't be quite up to date for a while. If you're having trouble moving the protein, check out the "Controls" tab of the "General Options" menu (control + t). The "switch right/middle mouse for camera" option can restore the most recent behavior when dragging on the background.
- Disturbing behavior: the latest main release includes new behavior menu sliders for backbone and sidechain hydrogen bond importance. There are also new Lua functions corresponding to the new sliders. See the "behavior" section of Foldit Lua Functions for details. There are also functions for adjusting the importance of the the clashing, packing, hiding, and density score parts. The score part adjustments are for recipes only. All the new sliders and functions default to importance 1, and allow adjusting importance from 0 to 3. It's still not clear what this means, but apparently there's the hope that new features will let clever people design better proteins. See recipe score modding for details, and stay tuned for updates....
- Metrics system: the new metrics are described in an updated blog post, Introducing Foldit Metrics. There are three "metric" functions, which allow recipes to check the results of the metrics. The article condition and metric control goes into detail on the differences between conditions and metrics.
- Discord comes to Foldit: A new Discord server gives players a new spot to hang out. Discord is oriented toward online gaming, and offers many features not found in IRC chat. In addition to basic text chat, Discord has voice chat and even screen sharing options. Discord has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and also offers web access. Discord users can be connected on multiple platforms at the same time. Messages on Discord persist, so offline users can catch up later.
- Deep thoughts: a Foldit blog post describes the upcoming energy landscape optimization paper and provides a link to the pre-print version. Foldit players have a chance to be listed by name in this paper, a gracious concession from the robot overlords.
- Chillin': the Foldit Cryo-EM paper has been published in PLOS Biology. The Foldit blog makes you scroll down before announcing Foldit players take gold!. Once again, Foldit players beat actual scientists. The paper's supplement (docx format) contains commentary from several Foldit players on how they did it.
- Free proteins: the
fourfive solved Foldit designs are available in all their 3D glory in the PDB. Four of the five are discussed in the Foldit protein design paper.
- Nurture versus Nature: De novo protein design by citizen scientists, describing the results of Foldit design puzzles, was published in Nature 5 June 2019. Five Foldit players are listed as named authors, along with "Foldit Players". A longer list of players appears in the "Supplementary information" section. See the Foldit blog post about the paper. Congratulations to lead author Brian Koepnick!
- Closely contested: Foldit now lets you bring your own protein with custom contests. This feature has been frequently requested for classroom puzzles. We'll have more about it on the wiki soon, in the mean time read the paper describing how it works.
- Naming names: a number of Foldit players are listed as authors (using their real names) on an article just published in Nature Scientific Reports. See Interesting Articles (under "contribution of Foldit players to scientific results") for a complete list and a link to the paper.
- FolditatUW - foldit's official YouTube channel.
- P1 - Introduction to Protein Design (15m)
- P2 - Design of New Protein Functions (27m)
- Beta_Helix's Foldit video the basics explained (40m)
- Through the eyes of a scientist Design solutions reviewed (26m)
- Design solutions reviewed Part 2 (22m)
- As seen on TV: Origami Revolution. Nova on PBS featured protein folding, David Baker, Rosetta@Home and Foldit. (Minutes 20 through 28, with Foldit briefly mentioned at 23:45.)
Tools, tips, techniques
- Foldit 101 - Useful information about Puzzle Types, the Cookbook and recipe basics.
- How to get started - With pictures from an actual puzzle
- Puzzle Results - screen shots of top scoring and interesting player solutions.
- Blackbelt Folding - Sessions 1,2, 3 & 4 denovo
- Electron Density - info and videos
- Hydrogen Bond Networks
- Download-Install-Troubleshoot includes Tracks, devprev and using multiple clients on Windows, Mac and Linux
- Foldit chat (IRC)
- Frequently asked questions
- Foldit Accessibility
- Foldit Translations
- Strategy - how to improve your score
- TheGame - tools, score details and Lua scripting
- Groups-Players - groups (teams), players and a bit of humour.
- The Research Room - advanced discussions and lots of external links
- Scientist and Developer Chats
- Hydrogen Bond Networks
- Small molecule design puzzles
- Interesting Articles
Contents ( View All Pages - Foldit Wikia Index )
Players can submit screenshots of their best or most interesting results using the camera button in chat. The Foldit wiki has thousands of these images. See recent puzzle results and older results for a complete list. See posting results for tips on how to post.
These pages describe the science of protein folding.
- Primary Structure
- Secondary Structure
- Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic (also known as "blue out, orange in")
- Protein Folding Theory
- Biochemistry I
This is a wiki about the Foldit game that anyone can edit. Before you do edit it, however, please take a look around and determine whether or not the article you'd like to write already exists. (If it does exist, feel free to make it better!)
To write a new article, just enter the article title in the box below.
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- Not sure where to start?
- Find out more about the wiki on the About page.
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- Check out Help:Starting this wiki if you're setting up the wiki.
- Adding content
- Every wiki has two list of articles that need help called "Stubs" and "Wanted Articles". Don't be shy, get in there.
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- You can find a list of useful templates on Category:Templates, some of which are documented on the templates project page.
- Talk and more...
- Check out the community portal to see what the community is working on, to give feedback or just to say hi.