DR GOPAL MURTI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR GOPAL MURTI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sickle cell anaemia. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of red blood cells in sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis). Here, normal red blood cells (rounded) contrast with an elongated sickle shaped cell (top) and other irregular shaped cells. Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disease, so-called because the affected red blood cells have abnormal haemoglobin (an oxygen-carrying pigment) that distorts cells into a sickle shape. Due to this defect, sickle cells are fragile and easily destroyed in the bloodstream. Sickle cell anaemia occurs largely in African people, and can be fatal in childhood. No cure is yet known. Magnification: x2,500 at 6x4.5cm size.
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