Doing something as simple as playing a computer game called Foldit, gamers have helped to unlock the secrets of a protein-cutting enzyme from a virus that resembles AIDS. Though that may not mean much to you, it's a breakthrough that could have real repercussions for those researching AIDS and cancer treatment.

The specifics are ... complicated, but, in short, players of Foldit work together to fill in the parts of research that computers struggle with: namely, spatial reasoning. (Sort of like Folding@Home, only this requires your brainpower rather than unused PS3 horsepower.) This newest collaborative breakthrough is being published in research journal Nature: Structural & Molecular Biology.

While our colleagues at Rock, Paper, Shotgun rush to bring you the heartwarming story, we're distracted by the far more pressing revelation of the study: Games have officially obviated the need for science. That's it, show's over. From now on, when we need an answer to the big questions, we'll make a video game about it.

Leave your pocket protector with Valerie on the way out, Poindexter.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.