Q:

Why do red blood cells have no nucleus?

A:

Quick Answer

Red blood cells have no nucleus, because most of their bulk is made up of hemoglobin, a compound that carries gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. In fact, about a third of a red blood cell is dedicated to hemoglobin alone, so no room remains for a nucleus or many of the structures that other cells have.

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Full Answer

Red blood cells look like flat disks that travel around the body in blood vessels. They carry oxygen to tissues and remove carbon dioxide from them. Hemoglobin plays an important role in red blood cells, because it carries the oxygen that nourishes cells and takes away carbon dioxide to prevent it from accumulating in cells.

In the mature form, red blood cells, or erythrocytes, do not have nuclei; however, they have not always been without nuclei. In their immature forms, red blood cells did have nuclei. An intermediate form of red blood cells, called a normoblast, expels its nuclei as the amount of hemoglobin accumulates in the developing blood cell. The immature red blood cell can still manufacture hemoglobin without the aid of a nucleus.

Because red blood cells do not have nuclei, they tend to live only about 120 days, which is a much shorter lifespan than that of other types of cells. Nuclei are important to cells, because they control what substances are made in the cell. Without the nuclei to replenish what is depleted in the cell, the erythrocyte will eventually die when it runs out of resources.

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Related Questions

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    What does the blood carry?

    A:

    Blood is responsible for transporting oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, hormones and proteins in the body, according to KidsHealth. The blood also carries glucose, ions, amino acids and waste products, such as urea, through the body. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, a chemical that gives blood its red color.

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    How has the red blood cell adapted?

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    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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    How long do red blood cells live?

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    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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    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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