The MPI-CBG ORACLE RESEARCH experiment for the soccer championchip 2014 in Brazil

The MPI-CBG

ORACLE RESEARCH

The Mystery of Divination Unravelled

The incredible Octopus Oracle Paul, who correctly predicted the outcome of all 8 of Germany’s games during the last world cup, is dead. And we, as ambitious life science research institute, cannot leave the certain Nobel price for the discovery of the oracle gene to random Zoo keepers. 

Therefore, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden initiated the first-ever competition for systematic model oracle research.

Research Objective:

To find a reliable oracle model system for the eventual characterisation of the gene regulatory networks underlying divination.

Experimental Design:

For all of Germany’s matches, the model-oracle competition entries predict the outcome of the game live in the MPI-CBG atrium at the announced date and time.

The predictions are announced here on this website and via the institutes social media channels 

MPI-CBG

predictions & results

FLIESFROGSBEETLESPLANARIAN LUIGIPLANARIAN FRANKPLANARIAN COLINWORMSYEASTZEBRAFISH OSKAR
final
 
Germany vs. Argentina
1 : 0







semifinal
 
Brazil vs. Germany
1 : 7

2 : 1
frog count: 3
win result




1 : 0
win result


quarterfinal
 
Germany vs. France
1 : 0

2 : 2
frog count: 4
win result






last 16
 
Germany vs. Algeria
2 : 1

1 : 3
frog count: 4
win result






group stage
 
Germany vs. USA
1 : 0

2 : 2
frog count: 6
win result




5 : 1
win result


group stage
 
Germany vs. Ghana
2 : 2

3 : 2
frog count: 5
win result




5 : 1
win result


group stage
 
Germany vs. Portugal
4 : 0

4 : 0
frog count: 4
win result




2 : 1
win result


MPI-CBG

our stars

Flies (Drosophila virilis)

Two teams of flies are released into an arena that has a soccer field on it with two flags, one in each half of the field. They distribute according to their divine sense of who is going to win and then a picture is taken that will be analysed by a new Fiji plugin that will make a prediction of who will win (i.e. which half of the field has more flies). Draws are possible. 

lab: Tomancak Lab

Frogs (Xenopus laevis)

N frogs are put in a tank. N = average # of goals that have been scored in all official games between the two teams multiplied by the statistical factor 1.5.  The position of the frogs after 90 seconds indicates the final score (frogs on the white space in the center do not count, frogs on a flag count for the respective country). 

lab: Simone Reber

The Planacle (Dugesia sicula, Phagocata gracilis, Polycelis tenuis)

The Rink lab is taking a biodiversity approach towards unraveling the genetic basis of divination. Out of our extensive collection of planarian flatworms from around the world, we have selected 3 special individuals from 3 different countries:

  • Luigi, a proud member of the species Dugesia sicula, hails from soccer-crazy Italy.
  • Frank, a true American Phagocata gracilis, was born near Washington, DC.
  • Colin, a Polycelis tenuis and one of her majesty’s subjects from Nottingham, UK, will use his many eyes to glimpse the future.

Released into the centre of the playing field, each of the three consults its inner oracle and glides towards one of the two goals. Whichever flag they glide over first will win the game. The animal remaining in the centre circle signifies a draw. Or a lack of motivation.  Luigi has so far proven the most gifted of the three, correctly predicting the outcome of three games in a row. Collin got depressed after Englands departure from the world cup and refused to move ever since. Frank clearly doesn’t give a damn about soccer and usually just hangs around the dish. 

lab: Rink lab

Red Flour Beetles (Tribolium castaneum)

Two teams; 11 beetles each; Germany is wearing white jerseys. Should the ball actually have moved out of the center circle, the team on whose side it rests after 90 seconds looses. Should the ball not move out of the circle, the team on whose half more individuals have accumulated is predicted to win.

see them play: http://youtu.be/INeC2lAZRwM

by: Tomancak Lab

wormoracle (C. elegans)

The TransgeneOme's Wormoracle is using the power of C. elegans and macrofluidics to predict the scores.

Unlike other binary oracles, the wormoracle can also predict the final score. 22 adult worms are placed in a rectangular macrofluidics chamber. On their way out of the chamber they are given a clear choice to go left (country 1) or right (country 2). Upon reaching the net of one of the teams the worms are immobilized by a mild anesthetic. By counting the worms in each net, we can predict the final score. 

The  #wormoracle is streaming live on Ustream here:  

to follow updates on twitter use the hashtag #wormoracle

lab: TransgeneOme

The Yeastacle

Yeast converts fermentable sugars into carbon dioxide. This gas will lift a plastic paraffin film on a flask and make a ball positioned on the prafilm drop to either side and thus predict the winner of the match.

by: the Alberti Lab

Zebrafish Oskar

Oskar is in a tank with two flags and will swim to the side with the falg of the winning team.

Oskar was in training with Paul the Octopus for 30 years in the Ganges delta.

He is not here for the fame. He is not here for the glory. He is not here for the fortune. 

 

It is all in a days work for Oskar. Previous successful predictions include Angela Merkel being re-elected as Chancellor and the 2013 flooding in Dresden. 

lab: Vastenhouw Lab