Deoxyribonucleotide vs Ribonucleotide: Difference and Comparison

We all are aware of the terms DNA (Deoxyribonucleotide acid) and RNA (Ribonucleotide acid).


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These two microscopic molecules, specifically DNA and RNA, look similar and even work quite similarly.

Key Takeaways

  1. Deoxyribonucleotides are building blocks of DNA, containing a deoxyribose sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base.
  2. Ribonucleotides form RNA, consisting of a ribose sugar, phosphate group, and nitrogenous base.
  3. Both are essential for genetic material but differ in the type of sugar they contain, affecting DNA and RNA structure and function.

Deoxyribonucleotide vs Ribonucleotide 

Deoxyribonucleotide is a nucleotide that contains deoxyribose and consists of three parts: a nitrogenous base, a deoxyribose sugar and one phosphoryl group. A ribonucleotide is a type of nucleotide that contains ribose as the pentose component and is the basic monomeric building block for RNA.

Deoxyribonucleotide vs Ribonucleotide

Thymine, guanine, adenine, and cytosine are four of the nitrogenous bases which occur in DNA. In the cell, DNA occurs as a type of nucleic acid with the role of the hereditary molecule.  

Ribonucleotide is the precursor of an RNA molecule. In the cell, ribonucleotide is the structure of nucleotide, which is made up of sugars of ribose.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Deoxyribonucleotide Ribonucleotide
InterpretationA nucleotide is a constituent of DNA and contains deoxyribose.A nucleotide is a constituent of RNA and contains ribose.
Basic unitDNARNA
Pentose sugar componentDeoxyriboseRibose
SplicingDo not allowAllow
The molecule at ‘2’ carbonH atomOH atom

What is Deoxyribonucleotide? 

The deoxyribonucleotide is mainly a nucleotide that consists of deoxyribose. They are the monomeric unit of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) which is the informational biopolymer.

In the analog of ribose, the hydrogen atom replaces the hydroxyl group of the 2’-carbon. The phosphoryl group simply attaches itself to the deoxyribose monomer.  

Deoxyribonucleotide may be designated based on the number of phosphates that make up the compound are triphosphate (three phosphate groups), diphosphate (two phosphate groups),

or monophosphate (one phosphate group).

Deoxyribonucleotides may be available from the breakdown of endogenous materials from deoxyribonucleotidic or from dietary constituents.

What is Ribonucleotide? 

A ribonucleotide is also a form of nucleotide in which the ribose is a sugar component. A nucleotide is considered the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) basic building block.

When an enzyme ribonucleotide reductase reduces the ribonucleotides, it may also be referred to as a precursor to deoxyribonucleotides.

Both pyrimidines and purines are synthesized from components specifically derived from the precursors of carbon dioxide, amino acids, ammonia, and ribose-5 phosphates.  

The one nucleotide 5’-phosphate group is linked to the next nucleotide 3’-hydroxyl group, which creates a backbone of alternating pentose and phosphates residues. Each end of the polynucleotide does not have a phosphodiester bond. 


Main Differences Deoxyribonucleotide and Ribonucleotide  

  1. In terms of pentose sugar, deoxyribonucleotide’s pentose sugar does not contain an OH group at the position of ‘2’, whereas ribonucleotide’s pentose sugar contains an OH group at the position of ‘2’.  
  2. In deoxyribonucleotide, the DNA is the main constituent in which methylated bases occur frequently. On the other hand, the RNA-modified bases occur more frequently. 

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