Outline the formation, structure and function of the adult red blood cell.

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College Answer

Candidates generally provided detailed description of the cell lineage that led up to the 
production of the mature red blood cell (RBC), but often omitted to mention those aspects 
unique to the RBC that were essential to its functions (e.g. biconcave shape gives the RBC a 
greater surface area and shorter distance to central regions, thus optimising diffusion of 
gases; the RBC enhanced ability to change shape and travel through narrow capillaries; lack of 
organelles maximises space for Hb, etc.). Mention of RBC function often lacked detail (e.g.
restricted to just mentioning “O2 carriage”) or failed to mention, and describe, the RBC’s role 
in acid base buffering and HCO3- production.