Red Blood Cells -- Mitochondria, Nucleus, Atp Essay

572 WordsJun 23, 20113 Pages
I was watching Law and Order one night and the topic was falsifying DNA evidence. During the show they mentioned that red blood cells do not have mitochondria or nuclei. The bad guys took advantage of this fact to make a blood sample with red blood cells that would contain only the DNA they added from the cop they wanted to frame. I was very surprised by the accuracy of this scenario! This is a really cool thing about red blood cells, because when we talk about eukaryotic cells we say they have a nucleus and other complex organelles -- like mitochondria, but red blood cells are different. The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen. To do this they contain a special protein molecule called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin binds to both oxygen and carbon dioxide. It carries oxygen to cells that need it and picks up the carbon dioxide that is a waste product of aerobic respiration and returns that to the lungs to be exhaled. In order for this process to be very efficient, red blood cells have no nucleus -- it would take up too much room. You should then ask, since the nucleus contains the DNA and this is required for cell division and the production of proteins, then how do these cells divide and grow? The simple answer is, "they don't!" Red blood cells come from bone marrow cells. Bone marrow cells grow and divide. When the bone marrow cells mature they become all of the different types of blood cells. As a red blood cell matures, it loses its nucleus. No nucleus, no DNA, no cell division. Red blood cells live only about 120 days, then the die. Now maybe you would wonder how red blood cells make more hemoglobin if there is no DNA to tell them how. They do not do that either. Almost all of the hemoglobin they need is made before they mature. A little leftover ER allows some final hemoglobin synthesis, but the ER disappears too to make room for

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