Here’s an addendum, dated 2.1.08, to Ian Musgrave’s challenge (go here for the original challenge):
Dear Dr. Dembski
There has been some confusion about the wording of the original challenge.
I’ve re-written the contest rules slightly as some people were confused as to what designer they were supposed to detect.
A reminder, to win, you have to:
1) Identify which sequences have been produced by a human designer
2) Describe how you identified the sequence as being designed (eg. I used PKZip to compress the sequences and ordered the output according to the following criteria)
3) Describe what the sequence does (eg. “This is the active site of a triose phosphate isomerise engineered into a riboprotein — this due to the catalytic triad signature” real example BTW this is not as difficult as iot sounds one you know what sequences were designed)
Obviously, the groups who produced these sequences are not eligible to enter, and if you walked down the corridor and asked the groups who produced these sequences what they did, you are also not eligible. You need to have done some actual work related to the sequences presented here. Simply looking up all journal references to “designed sequences” in Pubmed doesn’t count (obviously this is all public domain, I’m not going to release the engineered killer mousepox virus sequence am I).
If you are in an emergency ward, trying to discover if the superflu screaming through the population is a bioweapon, you won’t find the answer that way. And you won’t have the luxury of having a full viral sequence to BLAST against known genes [thus discovering that the M2 ion channel had been replaced with the amandatine-insensitive Vpu ion channel, so that your antiviral drugs won’t work], but short sequences like the ones above.
Remember, in a real biowarfare situation, everyone will be short of time and resources. A simple, reliable procedure to determine if a sequence has been human-engineered is of the utmost importance.
So, in the spirit of the Robot Soccer Challenge and the NASA Spacecraft Challenge, have a go!
Ian F. Musgrave Ph.D, email@example.com
Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Room 336S, ext 33905
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes