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Name: Anna
Status: Educator
Age: 50s
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I would like to know more about hemocyanin and hemerythrin and how they work relative to hemoglobin.

Anna, You ask an interesting & important question. The chemicals you list belong to the family of oxygen-binding proteins and correlate very nicely with the evolutionary branching of different groups of animals. For more detailed information on their molecular biology, try, for example, the name of any one of them on Altavista or Yahoo web search, or use "oxygen-binding proteins" in quotation marks.

Mother Nature plays with different variations on structural themes to accommodate common and then divergent functions; in this case oxygen-binding for respiration constitutes the common function. Iron-based molecules in that group bear the prefix "hem-" or "hemo-". Other oxygen-binding proteins in some invertebrates evolved branches that use other metal atoms in their cores.

I hope that addresses the central issues of your question.


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