Phylo is a nifty Flash-based game designed to help researchers figure out multiple sequence alignments (MSAs).
MSAs are ways of aligning DNA or RNA to discover areas that are similar. By looking at alignments, biologists may be able to detect shared evolutionary origins, functionally important sites, or mutation events. In addition to explaining the evolution of a genome, they may be able to trace the source of certain genetic diseases. While computers can certainly be used to try to find patterns, humans also have excellent pattern-detection abilities, and Phylo harnesses that with the game interface.
To play the game, you look at two strips of material, represented by colour-coded blocks. Your goal is to change the position of the blocks (by dragging them) to maximize the number of matches between the two strips. It’s trickier than it looks; you may have to introduce gaps, or remove gaps and play with it for a while to get it right. There’s a video explaining how it works here; there’s also a PDF explanation and a slide show.
The data collected will be incorporated into computer models and used by researchers at McGill University in Canada.