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Name: David J Williams
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Question:
Why does carbon monoxide bind more easily with red blood cells than oxygen?



Replies:
Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin about 200 times more strongly than oxygen and this is because the carbon atom of carbon monoxide reacts stronger with the iron atom of hemoglobin than either oxygen molecule of gaseous oxygen. A chemist could give you more specifics about why this is so. Interestingly, without a special evolutionary adaptation by the hemoglobin, the carbon monoxide would bind 25,000 times stronger than oxygen!
Keep up the good work.

Michael B Lomonaco



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