|Spend the time||indoors|
Computer, Facebook account
|Help identify what makes trees susceptible to a fungus.|
|Play a social media game on Facebook using real genetic data.|
Botanists in the UK have teamed up with game development company Team Cooper to design a social media game that uses real genetic data from the common ash tree, Fraxinus excelsior, and from the Chalara fraxinea fungus to find out what makes some trees less susceptible to it.
Fraxinus, which launched last Tuesday (August 13), presents players with multiple rows of colored leaves, where each color represents one of four DNA nucleotides and each row represents the genetic information from a different ash tree sample. Players are challenged to compare chunks of genetic code between the various ash samples, including around 100 Chalara-resistant trees from Denmark, as a means to search for genes that could be encode resistance. Players will also match genetic patterns from the Chalara fungus to learn more about how it spreads.