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SCD is an inherited, autosomal recessive genetic defect. Individuals who have the disease inherit two defected genes — one from each parent. With each pregnancy the risk of having a child born with SCD is 25%, if both parents have the trait (Blackwell, 2011). If a child inherit a sickle hemoglobin gene only from one parent and a normal gene from the other parent, have sickle cell trait. In this case, body make both sickle hemoglobin and normal hemoglobin, so they usually have few, if any, symptoms.
When a normal red blood cell distributes its oxygen, it has a disc shape. But when an affected red blood cell containing sickle cell hemoglobin releases its oxygen, the image of the cell changes from a disc shape to a sickled shape. In hemoglobin, there are four chains of amino acids. Two are know as alpha chains, and two are called beta chains. In a normal hemoglobin, the amino acid in the sixth position on the beta chain is known as glutamic acid (refer to diagram 1.1 on page 6).
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