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   Deoxyribose
(each number on the ring represents a carbon atom)

 

The carbon atoms in sugar molecules are numbered as in the diagram above.  In the sugar phosphate backbone of DNA, the phosphate groups connect to the #3 carbon of one sugar subsegment and the #5 carbon of the next, linking successive sugars together.  Thus the two ends of a polynucleotide differ.  At one end is a free phosphate group.  This is called the 5' end because if the chain continued, the phosphate group would next be connected to the 5 carbon atom of the next sugar.  At the other end, is a sugar molecule with no phosphate attached.  This is called the 3' end of the chain.  Here, an oxygen and hydrogen molecule, known as a hydroxyl group, are attached to the #3 carbon of the sugar instead of a phosphate. 

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This web is lovingly dedicated to the memory of
Mr. James Dorsey
who so graciously and enthusiastically
donated his DNA to solve our family mystery. 


Jim Dorsey
2/12/1930 — 4-30-2002

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