Differences between Ribose and Deoxyribose

These two sugars are very important and are found in the DNA and RNA. They are found in the nucleic acids and are regarded as pentose sugars which have five carbon atoms. I know some people are already wondering how the DNA  molecule contains sugar and whether its sweet or not. True, the DNA molecule is sweet because most of it is made up of sugar. We all know the use of the DNA; it is the communication bit of cells that carries important information around the body. Today, we don’t have to delve any deeper to the biology but we want to cover the visible differences between Ribose and Deoxyribose which are found in the human DNA and RNA. 

What is DNA, what is RNA?

Before we get to the differences between these sugars, we must understand some biology. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid while the RNA refers to Ribonucleic acid. These two are very important in conveying different genetic messages in the body. To understand the above sugars better, let’s understand where each of them is found. RNA contains Ribose while the DNA contains Deoxyribose sugars. 

1. The chemical formula

we all know that different chemicals used in the animal body have their own unique chemical formula. One major difference between Ribose and Deoxyribose is that they both have their unique formulas. The Deoxyribose chemical formula is C5H10O4 while that of Ribose is C5H10O5. If you didn’t know this, then at least you have some information about their unique chemical formulas. 

2. Names

The other difference between Ribose and Deoxyribose is their unique IUPAC name. The Ribose IUPAC name is (2S, 3R,4S,5R)-5-(Hydroxymethyl) oxolane-2,3,4,-triol while that of Deoxyribose is 2-deoxy-D-Ribose. This is a very notable difference that we cannot ignore. 

3. The structure

The structure of these two sugars is also very different. The structure of Ribose has Hydrogen (H) atom at position 2 while that of Deoxyribose has hydroxyl (OH) group at the same position. 

4. Their molar mass is also different

Today we are covering a lot of biology. Molar mass is the mass of that specific sample of the compound over the amount of substance in the same sample. The molar mass of Ribose is 150.13 g/mol while that of Deoxyribose is 134.13 g/mol. This is another visible difference between the two sugars found in the human DNA and RNA. 

5. The discovery

These two sugars were discovered by two distinct people. Emil Fischer discovered the Ribose sugar in 1891 while Phoebus Levene discovered the Deoxyribose sugar in 1929.

6. Where they are found

As described above, these two sugars are found in two different parts of the human cell. The Ribose is found in the human RNA while the Deoxyribose is found in the DNA. This is an indication that the two sugars also play different roles in the human body. The RNA is responsible for transferring genetic code from the cell nucleolus to the ribosome. It generally transports the information in some organisms and scientists believe it was used to store genetic blueprints in primitive organisms. The DNA store long term genetic information in the body.

7. Ribose is known as normal sugar.

The main reason in this case is because it comprises of one Oxygen atom that is connected to each carbon. It is actually a type of pentose sugar which is found in nucleic acids.

8. Deoxyribose is a modified sugar-Unlike Ribose which is a regular sugar molecule, Deoxyribose is a modified sugar.

As the name suggests, it’s a deoxy sugar. This means that Deoxyribose is derived from the ribose through the loss of an oxygen atom. This explains why the number of Oxygen atoms in the Deoxyribose is less than that in Ribose.A biological explanation to this case is that the enzymes will distinguish the two sugars through the loss of oxygen atom. 

9. Biological importance

The biological importance of each sugar is very different. This is explained by the fact that both of them are found in different molecules. In the RNA, Ribose sugar performs a biological role that is very different from the one Deoxyribose plays in the DNA. The D-bose is part of the backbone of the body’s RNA. 

10. Deoxyribose is a monosaccharide sugar

Before we close the list of differences between these two sugars, let me state that the two of them are different in this case. The Deoxyribose is a monosaccharide sugar while ribose is a monosaccharide sugar with 5 carbons atoms. This is a difference that falls on the category of their structure and most importantly their chemical formulas. 

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