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Ever felt as though you should be devoting your time to other, nobler pursuits while gaming? Cancer Research UK knows the feeling, and in response the British charity has created Genes in Space, a space exploration game for iOS that lets you voyage throughout the cosmos and help find the cure for cancer. And yes, at the same time.
This isn't one of those projects in which developers send a portion of every sale to cancer researchers; in this case, we're actually partaking in the research yourself as a glorified unpaid intern of sorts. It works by sending you in pursuit of so-called "Element Alpha," which you can then use to upgrade your ship with better weapons, shields, and the like.
But that's also where it gets interesting. Element Alpha actually represents DNA microarray data that hasn't been analyzed. So while you're zooming about in your ship and collecting Alpha, in other words, you're helping to identify the patterns in genetic data that lead to cancer.
That means, of course, that it's a good idea to play the game while connected to the Internet so you can relay the relevant data to Cancer Research UK. If you're interested, feel free to download it from the App Store. It costs nothing, and that's something that rarely said about all other forms of cancer research.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.