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White cell death. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of white blood cells undergoing programmed cell death (PCD) or apoptosis. This can be induced by disease or by other types of white blood cells. It also occurs as a necessary part of the normal cell life cycle, for example when cells and tissues are only needed for a short time. The process is often genetically mediated. White blood cells normally have a lifespan of 13-20 days. These are T-lymphocytes, white blood cells which mature in the thymus gland. They are part of the immune system's response to disease or infection, destroying abnormal or infected cells. Magnification: x5100 at 6x9cm size.
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