Red blood cells or erythrocytes are the most common type of blood cell. Every second, 2.4 million new erythrocytes are produced in the human bone marrow. They start their life as a hematopoietic stem cell, and enter the blood stream as reticulocytes after loosing their cell nucleus and most organelles. Within a day they mature to adult red cells with their typical flexible biconcave disk shape and circulate for about 100-120 days in the body before their components are recycled. The principle role of red blood cells is to deliver oxygen to the body tissues. They take up oxygen in the lungs and release it while squeezing through the body's capillaries, and their ability to deform is essential to their function.
Red Cell cytoplasm is rich in hemoglobin, the iron-containing bio molecule that can bind oxygen and is responsible for the blood's red color. Hemoglobinopathies affect millions of individuals worldwide. The hemoglobin mutations lead to alterations in the function of the red blood cell membrane, which in turn plays an important role in the pathology in this patient population.