Consequences of a Zika virus will have devastating consequences on the humankind.
Genetic mutations triggered by the lethal pathogen threaten to become irrevocably established in human DNA, they warn.
Severe deformities resulting from the virus slowly altering the genome will be passed on through generations to come.
Rather than continuing to evolve, development of the species will regress as the microbe causes human brains to shrink over thousands of years.
A report to be published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach claims the Zika virus threatens a “a dramatic retrogression of human evolution”.
It says the worst case scenario would be that viral DNA becomes encoded in the human genome giving rise to “a population of humans with diminished brain size and cognition”.
Author Professor Edward Steele, biologist and immunologist the CY O’Connor ERADE Village Foundation in Australia, said: “Whilst the Zika virus continues to grab headlines, its possible long-term impact on humanity appears to have escaped attention.
Almost 4,000 cases have been confirmed since the outbreak was identified last year in Brazil.
Although its main route of transmission is via mosquitoes, several new cases this year have been linked to sexual contact.
Professor Steele added: “The Zika virus appears to have recently changed genetically so as to cause an increased incidence of microcephaly – diminished brain size – in babies born to mothers infected with the virus during pregnancy.
“Microcephaly and the Zika virus now appear to show signs of being sexually transmissible, thus indicating that genes causing diminished brain volume and cognition may be gaining ingress into the human germ line.”