All the living creatures have DNA molecules using a four-letter genetic alphabet. Some Bacteria Invading Viruses carry around DNA with a different letter — Z — that may help them survive. The new show is much more widespread than previously thought. This was published in the journal Science.
A series of the new study describes how this strange chemical letter enters into viral DNA, and researchers have now demonstrated that the “Z-genome” is much more widespread in Bacteria Invading Viruses across the globe and may have even evolved to help the pathogens survive the hot, harsh conditions of our early planet.
In the late 1980s, researchers found that this Z nucleotide gave the virus some advantages: it was more stable at higher temperatures, it helped one strand of DNA bind more accurately to the second strand of DNA after replication and Z-DNA could resist certain proteins present in bacteria that would normally destroy viral DNA.