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The top picture shows an illustration of a branching capillary with normal, biconcave disc erythrocytes moving freely through it, as shown by yellow arrows. Beside it is a cross-section of a normal, biconcave disc erythrocyte with normal haemoglobin shown as yellow dots within the erythrocyte.

The lower picture shows an illustration of the same branching capillary with some “sticky” sickle cell erythrocytes stuck in the capillary and blocking the blood flow (indicated by a corrugated yellow arrow). Beside it is a cross-section of several sickled erythrocytes with abnormal haemoglobin forming strands that cause the sickle shape, shown as strands of yellow dots within the erythrocyte.

 5.1 Sickle cell anaemia