Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Mature mammalian erythrocytes have all the characteristics of a eukaryotic cell except that they don't have a nucleus, they don't have any cell organelles. Does this mean that erythrocytes are classified as prokaryotic?

share|improve this question
    
I have removed the abbreviation from your title (and also from your content). Titles should not contain other than the most common abbreviations (DNA) so they are immediately comprehensible and index properly. In general you should avoid them, or at least define on first usage. – David Jun 28 at 18:54
    
I don't think any Eukaryotic organism can possibly have prokaryotic cells in their body – One Face Jun 29 at 3:20
up vote 9 down vote accepted

No. Nobody considers red blood cells to be prokaryotic, perhaps most importantly because they are part of a eukaryotic organism. Red blood cells begin life with the full complement of organelles, including a nucleus and mitochondria, but our RBCs shed their organelles during maturation. In actuality, though, only mammalian RBCs lack nuclei; other animals' RBCs still hold on to their traditional eukaryotic characteristics.

As an analogy, apoptotic or necrotic cells don't have intact organelles, but they are still considered eukaryotic.

share|improve this answer

No. Prokaryotes have DNA. Mature RBCs don't. And RBCs cannot divide since they lack DNA.

share|improve this answer

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

    
By that logic, you wouldn't even call them cells, would you? – Amory Sep 13 '13 at 15:15
    
Why not? The term 'cell' in its broader meaning can certainly be used. If that is not acceptable consider reusing the term corpuscles. Anyway 'what is in a name' the point is what it is and what it is not. A perfectly innocent gene is given the sinister name proto-oncogene. Eventhough there is a logical explanation why the term came about. For a rational person who are not familiar, it may sound illogical. – Ram Manohar M Sep 14 '13 at 3:39
    
That would mean, technically, that RBC's are not even alive, since hereditary material is a necessity for life. – Gerard Sep 15 '13 at 14:24
    
@ Gerad. Why should everything be black and white? Why not the greys in between. if someone is expected to answer that- one has to define what is 'alive'. If alive means 'functional' in that organism then yes it is alive as would be platelets. Basically at a certain point you should not be constrained by definitions. – Ram Manohar M Sep 16 '13 at 17:00

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.