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Epimers

Epimers are diastereomers that contain more than one chiral center but differ from each other in the absolute configuration at only one chiral center.

eg:



1 and 2 have the same molecular formula and the same structural formula and, therefore, stereoisomers.  1 and 2 are not mirror images of each other and, therefore, are diastereomers.



Diastereomers 1 and 2 differ from each other in the absolute configuration at only one chiral center.  Thus, 1 and 2 are epimers.

In epimers the chiral carbon atoms whose absolute configuration makes the two compounds different are called the epimeric carbons.