What Is the Five-Carbon Sugar Found in RNA?


Quick Answer

The five-carbon sugar found in RNA is ribose. Ribose is an important carbohydrate for generating energy in the cells of living organisms.

Continue Reading
Related Videos

Full Answer

Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is a type of complex organic substance found primarily in the material within a living cell. RNA contains the codes that allow it to replicate itself. Its key role is synthesizing proteins. Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a molecule found primarily in the nucleus of cells that contains the codes to make RNA.

RNA comprises a long chain of nucleotides, each of which consists of a sugar, phosphate and nitrogen-containing base. The sugar is called ribose, which is a five-carbon, or pentose, sugar. Ribose is a monosaccharide carbohydrate that plays a major role in producing adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is an important source of energy for cells. DNA also features a sugar called deoxyribose. Ribose and deoxyribose differ by one oxygen atom.

Ribose has a chemical composition that repels the electrostatic negative charge of the phosphate, according to Stanford University. This repulsion means that the RNA chain cannot coil in a tight helix in the same way as DNA. This gives RNA greater flexibility and a less structured form, but DNA is a more stable substance.

Learn more about Molecular Biology & DNA

Related Questions