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Containers for Haemoglobin

It is very convenient to transport haemoglobin in a spe­cial container inside the erythrocytes, but, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. The erythrocyte, being a living cell, does itself consume a great deal of oxygen. Nature hates wastefulness and had to think hard of a way of cutting down this unnecessary expenditure.

The most important part of any cell is its nucleus. If this is carefully removed (an ultramicroscopic operation within the power of modern scientists), then the denucleated cell, although still living, will become non-viable, its main functions will stop and metabolism will be drastically reduced. This is the very phenomenon which nature decided to make use of and deprived the adult erythrocytes of mammals of their nuclei. The main function of the erythrocytes is to act as containers for haemoglobin. This function is a passive one and could not be disturbed, whereas a decrease in metabolism is very conveniently followed by a sharp reduction in oxygen consumption.

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