OpenWorm wants to built the first digital lifeform. And for those keeping score, they're getting pretty close.
C. elegans is a lil' nematodey fellow that neuroscientists use as a model organism for studying just about every biological process under the sun, including those that lead to disease. The good folks at OpenWorm, an international open source collaboration, think we now know enough to reconstruct the roundworm in silico.
But don't take my (or their) word on it. Everything OpenWorm does is open access—you're beginning to understand the group's name—meaning anyone can take a look at their code.
Here's a Kickstarter campaign to help 'em out.
Science still does not understand the human brain to the level needed to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Believe it or not, science doesn’t even fully understand the brain of a simple worm! If we cannot build a computer model of a worm, the most studied organism in all of biology, we don’t stand a chance to understand something as complex as the human brain.