Live webcast for Nutritious Rice for the World: April 17th, 7:00pm UTC
15 Apr 2014
Summary Join us on April 17th at 3:00pm Eastern (7:00pm UTC) for a live online presentation that will review how our members helped researchers understand the structure of rice proteins. These results could support the development of better food for billions of people worldwide.
Rice supplies 20% of all the calories eaten by humankind. There are thousands of varieties of rice, with considerable ongoing effort toward breeding new varieties with better nutritional content. The motivation is clear: a better strain of rice could improve the lives of billions of people.
However, these breeding efforts are hindered by a gap in scientific knowledge. Scientists know that the rice plant has thousands of proteins - molecules that are essential to nearly every process within living cells. However, the structures and functions of these proteins are mostly unknown. If scientists could understand the structures of rice proteins, they could have a better idea of what these proteins do, and which ones are important for nutritious, hardy rice plants. Plant breeding efforts could then try to target those proteins and develop better strains of rice.
The Nutritious Rice for the World project, which ran on World Community Grid from 2008 to 2010, aimed to use the power of volunteer computing to make predictions about the structures of rice proteins. Since completing their modeling calculations on World Community Grid, the research team has been analyzing the data generated by our volunteers and will present their work on April 17th.
In this research, a team from the University of Washington set out to use the rice genome – its DNA sequence – to predict the structures of the proteins that are created from that DNA template. World Community Grid members contributed over 25,000 years of processing time to simulate over 10 billion possible protein structures in the quest to help researchers determine which structures likely corresponded to a given DNA sequence.
On Thursday's live online presentation, Dr. Ling-Hong Hung will review the goals of the project, explain how members were able to help in those efforts, and give an update about the further analysis they have done on data they received from World Community Grid volunteers. The team was able to publish structural information about thousands of proteins, and advance the field of computational protein modeling. These results – which were only possible because of the massive amount of donated computing power they had available – are expected to guide future research and plant science efforts.
This is a great opportunity to learn about how World Community Grid work can have important consequences for an essential real-world research topic.