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What is the sugar found in DNA?

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Quick Answer

The sugar found in deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is deoxyribose. It is a variant of the five-carbon sugar called ribose. DNA is an informational molecule found mainly in the nucleus of the cell.

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Full Answer

The primary structure of DNA contains a set of instructions or a code that allows it to replicate itself. It also guides the synthesis of proteins, which are mainly enzymes, a process that governs the metabolic activities of the cell, as stated by Harvard University.

DNA contains the genetic codes necessary to make ribonucleic acid, or RNA, found primarily in the material in the living cell. DNA comprises two intertwined strands within each molecule that form a double helix, identified by American biologist James D. Watson and British biologist Francis Crick in 1953.

The double helix comprises nucleotides, which are repeating units composed of a pentose sugar, a nitrogen-containing base and a triphosphate. Each chain of DNA has a chief support structure comprising phosphate-sugar-phosphate-sugar-phosphate.

Deoxyribose is a variant of ribose, which is a five-carbon sugar, and it is the origin of the name dioxyribonucleic acid. In deoxyribose, one of the hydroxyl, or OH, groups on the carbon is missing on the sugar, which is the way it differs from ribose.

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