DNA Structure Activity

Problem 1: Identifying the location of phosphate groups.

DNA (and RNA) are polymers made up of five-carbon sugars, organic nitrogen-containing bases, and phosphate groups. Where are phosphates located on DNA?


The picture shows a close up of the view "Phosphate group location". Phosphates are shown as a yellow phosphorous atom surrounded by four oxygen atoms. Phosphates alternate with deoxyribose sugars to form the DNA backbone. This view emphasizes the location of the phosphates on the outside of the DNA helix.

The electronegative oxygen atoms of the phosphate groups have a negative charge, and are in position to interact with cations in the cell that help stabilize DNA through ionic interactions.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Modified: May 27, 1997
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