Accelerating biological research with an open-source virtual organism
Improving our understanding of basic brain functions could make a fundamental contribution to the development of cures for brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Research on these materials, like groups studying the worm, should be open-source.
In April 2014, OpenWorm raised $120,000 from 799 backers, to support: ‘a scrappy, open-source project that began with a tweet and that's coordinated on Google Hangouts by scientists spread from San Diego to Russia
An international team of scientists (pre-Kickstarter, mostly on a voluntary basis) has built a basic digital model of a worm. They have put this model into an iOS app, and a freely available explorer tool which works right in your browser. As the OpenWorm model improves it will be used in silico (i.e. computer simulated) experiments, the range and scale of which will dwarf what is currently possible using real C.Elegans worms