Features that Would Help in-Lab Review and Design

     One of the best things about Eterna is that players get a chance to try their hand at solving real life science problems through the “Labs”. It was recognized early on that being able to “Review” data would help players to improve their designs; the players could see what appeared worked and what didn’t. To further ‘boost’ player’s abilities to get the most out of the design data for each lab puzzle I have the following feature suggestions for the ‘Devs’ at Eterna HQ.


1.)    The data listed in the puzzle “Review” needs an actual counter to keep track of the puzzles. While the “Id” column suggests the order in which designs were submitted, it neither reflects what number design it is (e.g., 1st, 45th, 800th, etc.), nor the actual date of submission. Both of these values would help to put the submitted designs into a better context for players to evaluate, and it would allow for an easy way to see how many designs have been submitted for each lab. By knowing how many designs each lab has, this could allow the more charitable players to easily find those puzzles that are design-poor. But That’s Not All! If a counter (any counter) were also made to be constantly ‘in view’ while side-scrolling through data, this would help players to not lose their place (which can easily happen with these large data sets).

The following feature suggestions focus mainly on Sequence Data:


2.)    Some data are more relevant than other data. In the case of the sequences, it would be VERY beneficial to be able to see those sequences already built into the lab puzzle. That is, for those bases which are locked in the lab puzzle there should be some corresponding indication of this in the sequences displayed in the Review. For those sequences, which must be included in the final design for a puzzle, such as the MS2 aptamer or K4 hairpin, there should be some indication of where these sequences occur in each submitted design. Being able to see these data is essential to the purpose for which the data are posted in the first place. That is, to review (competently) the designs submitted by players.

    Having these sequences highlight (somehow) economizes player review of the data by indicating what sequences were ACTUALLY designed by the players themselves.

   I quickly annotated the Sequence Data (from Feb. 16th) from the Same State Arginine A Lab Puzzle: http://prnt.sc/e9ib11 . I have highlighted the pre-set/locked bases and have shown placement of the K4 hairpin within each design. The stars (if curious) I placed to indicate more than one occurrence of the K4 hairpin sequence. All highlighting/annotation should have the option to toggle on/off if necessary. Also in association with a painting/highlighting feature It could prove helpful if the “search” feature not only located designs containing the sequence searched for, but also indicated where in each design that sequence occurs (underlining perhaps).

3.)         There is one more feature I would like to see for the sequence data, a running-consensus of the sequences, that is, a display of consensus data which would update in real-time (upon submission of a new design). Though an electropherogram is the more traditional way of doing this, a “sequence logo” might prove more user friendly to the non-specialist community.  

     I feel that features such as these would vastly improve design efficiency and efficacy in all labs to come. Let me know what you think. Thank you.



Thx Cynwulf!

I find the image you made, with the K4 and locked aptamer sequence highlighted, very beautiful.

I would find such feature most useful in game. It will be a helping hand for the newbies and a time saver for the more experienced players.

Date and number on submissions would be helpful too. (I’m aware that we sometimes sort the designs with different filters and this will scramble the numbers.)

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