UNIVERSITY boffins are using virtual reality to unpick the causes of conditions such as diabetes and anaemia.
Researchers from Oxford University have blended VR and genetic techniques, using state-of-the-art technology to show the 3D structure of DNA.
Newly-created software CSynth has been developed along with physicists from Universita di Napoli in Italy and developers and artists at Goldsmiths, University of London, to explore the structure of the genome in 3D.
Subtle changes to DNA can dictate what a cell can do, and it is hoped that studying this process can get to the bottom of causes and potential new treatments.
CSynth will be one of 22 exhibits on show at the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition y in London from today.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to manipulate DNA in virtual reality, seeing first-hand how changes in DNA folding influence the way bodies work.
Stephen Taylor, head of the research group at Oxford’s MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, said: “With advances in genetic techniques, we can now harness more information than ever before from biological data provided by patients and volunteers.
“Using the virtual reality mode in CSynth is helping us visualise these complex 3D structures in a more intuitive way.”
Professor Frederic Fol Leymarie, of Goldsmiths, added: “By combining maths and physics with computer games technologies, we can program realistic molecular interactions and immerse people in the dynamic world of DNA.”