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Am I eligible? All topics in Am I eligible? Book now to donate blood. Location or web code. Eligibility overview To ensure the safety of both patients and donors, we have certain requirements donors must meet to be eligible to donate blood based on their donation type such as whole blood or platelets. New to donating blood? Donated before? Platelets every 14 days. A standard test at the time—and now—is LAL, which stands for limulus amebocyte lysate.

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Limulus refers to Limulus polyphemus , the species of horseshoe crab native to the Atlantic coast of North America. This is the stuff exquisitely sensitive to bacterial toxins. Thirty years before Ding—and 9, miles away on Cape Cod—he too was collecting horseshoe crabs on the shore.

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For reasons not entirely understood, horseshoe crabs are only found around the eastern coasts of North America and Asia. Bang suspected this clotting had a purpose. Intriguingly, their blood turned to gel even if he boiled the bacteria injection for five or 10 minutes first. This should have killed the bacteria and sterilized the injected solution. Bang realized the blood was sensitive not just to live bacteria but to bacterial toxins that persist even after sterilization.

At the time Bang was doing this research in the s, the standard way to test for bacterial toxins was to inject a sample into rabbits. Over the next decade and a half, he and a young pathologist named Jack Levin devised a standardized way to extract LAL. It was not until , however, that the Food and Drug Administration allowed pharmaceutical companies to replace their large colonies of rabbits with LAL kits. Now you simply added LAL to the tested material and flipped the vial over to see if it turned solid—much faster and more convenient. The LAL test still required the use of animals, but the grisly process of sticking needles into animals became hidden and outsourced to a different part of the supply chain.

By the time Ding was looking for horseshoe crabs in Singapore, LAL had become a multimillion-dollar industry. Which is why she considered making her own lysate. What it would require was manipulating DNA. Biotechnology as a field was already moving in the direction of recombinant DNA, which entails taking DNA from one species and putting it another.

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A few years earlier in , Eli Lilly began selling human insulin grown in vats of bacteria. Ding had a good starting point for her LAL alternative. By then, scientists had identified factor C , the specific molecule in LAL that detects bacterial toxins.

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So she started hunting for the gene that makes factor C. Her research team took cells from horseshoe crabs that they collected and bled them minimally. They also tried, but failed, to grow horseshoe crabs in a lab and breed them through IVF. The toxins, it turns out, are everywhere—in water, in test tubes, in petri dishes. They also had to buy special water that had been treated to be bacterial toxin free. When Ding and Ho finally identified the gene for factor C, they spliced it into yeast.

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That failed because while the yeast made factor C, it did not secrete the molecule. They tried another type of yeast and mammalian cells—those failed too. In the late s, Ding and Ho attended a course in the United States and learned about baculovirus vector systems. Red cells vary markedly in size among mammals; those of the goat are much smaller than those of humans, but the goat compensates by having many more red cells per unit volume of blood. The concentration of hemoglobin inside the red cell varies little between species.

Hemocyanin , a copper -containing protein chemically unlike hemoglobin, is found in some crustaceans. Hemocyanin is blue in colour when oxygenated and colourless when oxygen is removed.

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  5. Some annelids have the iron-containing green pigment chlorocruorin, others the iron-containing red pigment hemerythrin. In many invertebrates the respiratory pigments are carried in solution in the plasma, but in higher animals, including all vertebrates, the pigments are enclosed in cells; if the pigments were freely in solution, the pigment concentrations required would cause the blood to be so viscous as to impede circulation.

    This article focuses on the main components and functions of human blood. For full treatment of blood groups, see the article blood group. For information on the organ system that conveys blood to all organs of the body, see cardiovascular system.

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    For additional information on blood in general and comparison of the blood and lymph of diverse organisms, see circulation. In humans, blood is an opaque red fluid, freely flowing but denser and more viscous than water. The characteristic colour is imparted by hemoglobin , a unique iron-containing protein. Hemoglobin brightens in colour when saturated with oxygen oxyhemoglobin and darkens when oxygen is removed deoxyhemoglobin.

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    For this reason, the partially deoxygenated blood from a vein is darker than oxygenated blood from an artery. The red blood cells erythrocytes constitute about 45 percent of the volume of the blood, and the remaining cells white blood cells, or leukocytes , and platelets , or thrombocytes less than 1 percent. The fluid portion, plasma , is a clear, slightly sticky, yellowish liquid.

    After a fatty meal, plasma transiently appears turbid. Within the body the blood is permanently fluid, and turbulent flow assures that cells and plasma are fairly homogeneously mixed.

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    The total amount of blood in humans varies with age, sex, weight, body type, and other factors, but a rough average figure for adults is about 60 millilitres per kilogram of body weight. An average young male has a plasma volume of about 35 millilitres and a red cell volume of about 30 millilitres per kilogram of body weight. There is little variation in the blood volume of a healthy person over long periods, although each component of the blood is in a continuous state of flux. In particular, water rapidly moves in and out of the bloodstream, achieving a balance with the extravascular fluids those outside the blood vessels within minutes.

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    The normal volume of blood provides such an adequate reserve that appreciable blood loss is well tolerated. Withdrawal of millilitres about a pint of blood from normal blood donors is a harmless procedure.