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In a strand of DNA, why does identifying the 3' side and the 5'side matter? Or the 3' --> 5' strand and the 5' --> 3' strand? Also, what is a single strand of DNA called, is it just a helix, or is the helix just the backbone?

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closed as too broad by MattDMo, AliceD, David, WYSIWYG Jan 4 '17 at 4:13

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ These are basic questions that a careful reading of a textbook can answer. If you post to this list you need to show evidence of having made an effort to find the answer to the question. I suggest you refer to Wikipedia or, better, texts available in NCBI bookshelf and then edit your question. The link is: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/?term=dna+structure. Biochemistry by Berg et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell by Alberts et al., or Molecular Cell Biology by Lodish et al. are all well-written and authoratitive. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 3 '17 at 18:09
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A double strand is a helix, as the basepairs move with a horizontal angle with each step to the next basepair. Identifying the sides is important for DNA-replication and RNA synthesis as the way DNA is read is from 3' to 5' so that the complementary bases can be ''glued'' together from 5' to 3' in which the phosphate groups bind to the OH groups of the other molecule by a polymerase reaction. Disregard first answer.

There.

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Well, a single strand of DNA is called a denatured chain ... Basically, it has the structure of RNA

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A single strand is a helix, as the basepairs move with a horizontal angle with each step to the next basepair. Identifying the sides is important for DNA-replication and RNA synthesis as the way DNA is read is from 3' to 5' so that the complementary bases can be ''glued'' together from 5' to 3' in which the phosphate groups bind to the OH groups of the other molecule by a polymerase reaction.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to SE Biology. When you answer a question here you need to back up your assertions with references. Otherwise nobody can determine whether or not they are correct. In this case you are certanly incorrect in stating that "a single strand is a helix". There is no reason for a single strand of DNA to adopt a helical conformation and it is unlikely to do so. It certainly will not adopt the double-helical formation as that requires base-pairing between two strands. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 3 '17 at 18:02

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