2018 AMI Online Salon

Guardians of the Genome

Project Detail

  • Artist(s):  Jason Sharpe
  • Contributors: Stephanie Lepage, Brendan Polley, Joyce Hui, Matthew Ostil, Raheel Zubair, Julian Kirk-Elleker, Stuart Jantzen, Sam Holmes, Ruth Chang, David Tran; Toronto, Ontario
  • Client: AXS Studio Inc.
  • Copyright: © 2018 AXS Studio Inc.
  • Medium / software used: Unity, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Multiplayer video game for use with VR headset and controllers
  • Primary audience: Secondary school biology students

Project Description

Popularized in movies and TV, “DNA” is a household name; its double-helix structure is an icon of the biological sciences. Unfortunately, many depictions of DNA are inaccurate, perpetuating misconceptions about one of our most fundamental biological systems. Guardians of the Genome is a serious game designed to teach secondary high school biology students about accurate DNA structure through collaborative, hands-on experiences. Equipped with tools emulating enzymes involved in DNA mismatch repair, students are tasked to repair base-pairing errors along a strand of DNA in a virtual nucleus. Mastery of the game solidifies an understanding of complementary base pairing and identifying nitrogenous bases. Models are based on peer-reviewed literature and PDB datasets, and rendered to adapt to user needs throughout the game. A surface representation helps users differentiate bases at a distance, while an augmented stick representation appears during repair to draw attention to atomic bonds.