Q:

How has the red blood cell adapted?

A:

Quick Answer

Two adaptations that have been made by the red blood cell are the lack of a nucleus and organelles, or small, specialized bodies in the cell. This allows for more room in the blood cell for hemoglobin.

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Full Answer

Hemoglobin is a molecule that bonds with oxygen and delivers it to the cells. Hemoglobin also gives red blood cells their red color. The development of a cell specialized in carrying oxygen throughout the body allows oxygen to be utilized more efficiently by an organism.

Red blood cells don't use the oxygen they carry because they lack organelles, such as mitochondria. Because they have no nuclei, they have no DNA or RNA and can't divide or repair themselves well. They live about 100 days before they are destroyed.

Other adaptations of red blood cells are their donut shape and flexibility. These adaptations allow them to squeeze through tiny capillaries.

Red blood cells also release adenosine triphosphate, or ATP when they find themselves in very narrow blood vessels. ATP causes the vessels to open up. Red blood cells also produce hydrogen sulfide, which signals the blood vessels to relax.

When the body is invaded by a pathogen, red blood cells attack it with free-radical molecules, which destroy the pathogen's cell walls.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What do red blood cells do?

    A:

    Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the body and take away carbon dioxide. They are also called erythrocytes. They get their red color from a pigment called hemoglobin, and it is the hemoglobin that actually carries the oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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  • Q:

    Do red blood cells have nuclei?

    A:

    Mature red blood cells do not contain nuclei. However, red blood cells that are not fully formed and not fully matured do contain nuclei for a brief period of time during their development.

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    How long do red blood cells live?

    A:

    A normal red blood cell lives for about 120 days. It takes about two days for the body to manufacture each red blood cell, and about two million are turned out every second. Production of new red blood cells occurs in the bone marrow.

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    How are red blood cells specialized?

    A:

    According to Springfield Technical Community College, the primary role red blood cells play in the body is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the various body tissues. To carry out this task, the cells are filled with a substance called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is so important to red blood cells that its molecules comprise one-third of the cell’s volume.

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