No gamer's escaped the throes of adolescence without hearing the damning refrain, "Video games'll rot your brain." While scientific research into that claim has so far proved inconclusive, it turns out the preferred pastime of our digital era could potentially cure cancer, and even help prevent AIDS -- in monkeys. Utilizing crowdsourced results from the downloadable protein-manipulating "game" Foldit, scientists at the University of Washington were able to attain a successful model of the simian AIDS-causing Mason - Pfizer monkey virus retroviral protease. For over a decade, researchers have been arduously attempting to reconstruct the folded shape of M-PMV with the aid of the task-specific Rosetta software, but to no avail. Now, in what they're calling a possible first, gamers were able to do what scientific brains and algorithms could not, creating a sufficient model for molecular replacement -- all in just three weeks. Feel like dedicating your leisure hours to this worthwhile cause? Then be sure to hit up the source link below, and transform yourself from couch potato to couch crusader.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.