Gearbox teams up with scientists to map the human gut microbiome in Borderlands 3

Borderlands Science
Borderlands Science (Image credit: Gearbox)

What you need to know

  • Gearbox has teamed up with McGill University, Massively Multiplayer Online Science, and The Microsetta Initiative to bring some science into the Borderlands universe.
  • Players can help map the human gut microbiome through new mini-games in the form of puzzles.
  • The hope is that by having thousands of people map these microbes, scientists can better understand the diseases and conditions linked to them.

Gearbox is teaming with a groups of scientists from McGill University along with Massively Multiplayer Online Science and The Microsetta Initiative to help map the human gut microbiome in Borderlands 3. Yes, you read that right.

Borderlands Science presents you with simple block puzzles based on strands of DNA, and by solving them you're helping to map and compare the microbes contained therein.Borderlands Science exists in part because computers aren't perfect at organizing this data and make lots of small mistakes that can corrupt subsequent analysis, but the game you play to solve this complex task is easy to understand and play. Colored tiles representing different nucleotides appear on a grid; by nudging them up within their columns, you attempt to organize them into the correct rows. It's not always possible to line up all of the tiles correctly, but attempting these puzzles is still helpful as you're identifying errors in real-world computer analyses.In case you're curious about the practical applications for the raw data gathered through Borderlands Science, the human gut is linked to numerous diseases and conditions, including diabetes, depression, autism, anxiety, obesity and more. By mapping these microbes, the hope is that scientists will be able to better understand these ecosystems, which may help guide future research into novel treatments and interventions.

Players will be able to play these puzzles using a new in-game arcade that can be found in Tannis' infirmary on Sanctuary III. Puzzles will have target scores that you need to hit in order to progress. By completing these puzzles, players will earn in-game currency and timed boosters that can buff your stats, loot quality, and experience gains.

Gearbox recently found itself in the news lately after a report shed light that the team working on Borderlands 3 was getting stiffed on some pretty significant bonuses.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.