Why is blood red? Because it contains Hemoglobin Ė the most important molecule in the human body.
In health Ė the average person has 4 lbs. of hemoglobin and manufactures seven billion molecules of hemoglobin every second. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the cells and helps the body remove waste carbon dioxide.
In sickness Ė an estimated one billion people around the world have some disorder related to hemoglobin: sickle-cell anemia, pernicious anemias, iron-deficiency anemia, porphyrias, hemoglobin E disease, alpha-thalassemia, beta- thalassemia, and G6PD deficiency. One type of hemoglobin can be used to monitor diabetes.
This basic introduction to hemoglobin includes information on the reelection of Richard Nixon, the madness of King George III, werewolves, lead poisoning, legends about Pythagoras, genetics and genetic screening, diabetes, respiration, the production of red cells, and translation of the DNA code.
Hemoglobin is a fascination molecule that touches our lives, our politics, our myths and our history.