Biology Practice Problems Extensions to Mendel Practice Problems Solution: In people with sickle-cell disease, red blood cell...

Solution: In people with sickle-cell disease, red blood cells break down, clump, and clog the blood vessels. The blood vessels and the broken cells accumulate in the spleen. Among other things, this leads to physical weakness, heart failure, joint pain, and brain damage. Such a suite of symptoms can be explained by _____. A. a bacterial infection interacting with the sickle-cell alleleB. the pleiotropic effects of the sickle-cell alleleC. the polygenic nature of sickle-cell diseaseD. an epistatic interaction between the sickle-cell allele and a proteolytic enzyme geneE. side effects of the drugs used to cure sickle-cell disease

Problem

In people with sickle-cell disease, red blood cells break down, clump, and clog the blood vessels. The blood vessels and the broken cells accumulate in the spleen. Among other things, this leads to physical weakness, heart failure, joint pain, and brain damage. Such a suite of symptoms can be explained by _____. 

A. a bacterial infection interacting with the sickle-cell allele

B. the pleiotropic effects of the sickle-cell allele

C. the polygenic nature of sickle-cell disease

D. an epistatic interaction between the sickle-cell allele and a proteolytic enzyme gene

E. side effects of the drugs used to cure sickle-cell disease

Solution

Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder caused by the mutation of a single base leading to the substitution of a single amino acid in the hemoglobin proteins. The known immediate effect of this disorder is the deformation of the red blood cells into a sickle shape. As these can clog small blood vessels, it may also lead to other symptoms, such as physical weakness, pain, organ damage, etc.

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