KENNETH EWARD / BIOGRAFX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH EWARD / BIOGRAFX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sickle cell haemoglobin. Computer graphic of a molecule of sickle cell haemoglobin showing the mutation (red) that causes sickle cell anaemia. Haemoblogin is the oxygen-carrying pigment that gives red blood cells their colour. The molecule consists of four globin polypeptides (alpha globin = blue, beta globin = yellow), each with a haem component (white) carrying a central iron atom, which binds to oxygen. In sickle cell anaemia a single mutation results in the replacement of the amino acid glutamic acid by valine (red) at residue 6 on the beta chain. As a result the red blood cells and causing anaemia.
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