Structure of Red and White Blood Cells

Compare the structure of the red blood cell and lymphocyte below (type of white blood cell).

Illustration showing a red blood cell and a lymphocyte (type of white blood cell)

Red blood cells are small and biconcave in shape as they lack a nucleus and other organelles. This means the cell can be packed with haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment. The red blood cells are also flexible so they can squeeze through the small capillaries.

White blood cells are larger than red blood cells, the lymphocyte above has a very large nucleus and very little cytoplasm. The nucleus appears large as the cell is undergoing cell division and so the amount of genetic material has been doubled.

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