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Researchers Turn to Volunteer Readers to Speed Research on Rare Genetic Disorder

Biomedical research is often slow and incremental, but it can take a leap when someone uncovers a hidden connection. Today, one group of researchers is launching a crowdsourcing initiative to pave the way, by harnessing the efforts of lay volunteers who will scan papers for key terms to help create a powerful searchable database. This crowdsourcing curation campaign, dubbed Mark2Cure, is first reaching out to a particularly motivated crowd — the community of people affected by NGLY1 deficiency, a newly discovered genetic disorder.

Mark2Cure’s current project “is all about showing that the output of [volunteer] efforts is scientifically meaningful,” Su says.

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