In particular, the researchers found out that protein HAP2 makes the fusion of a sperm cell and an egg cell possible and is the same protein which enables the penetration of a cell membrane by a virus.
"A protein that first made sex possible, and is still used for sexual reproduction in many of Earth's organisms, is identical to the protein used by dengue and Zika viruses to enter human cells," Snell was quoted as saying. "This protein must have really put the spice in the primordial soup."
The findings not only disclosed the evolutionary roots of sex, they are also relevant from a practical point of view.
Given the fact that the HAP2 protein is used by a variety of pathogens, such as malaria and toxoplasmosis, to penetrate a human body, the protein can be used for vaccines and therapies to help a person's immune system to fight the disease.