Why Did Sickle Cell Anemia Come About?

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How Did Sickle Cell Anemia Come About?
The red fluid that circulates in our veins and arteries is none other than blood! Is blood important? But of course it is! Blood’s main function is to act as the body’s transport system and also plays a major role in the body’s defense system against infections (America’s Blood Centers, 2012). Among many things, blood contains red blood cells, the component that carries oxygen to cells, and carbon dioxide away. (ABC, 2012). However, blood disorders pose a threat to the health of the body, sometimes requiring the host to have blood transfusions in order to survive (National Institute of Health, 2012). A particular blood disorder of interest is sickle cell anemia, a condition that affects 300,000 people born every year!
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The shape of a sickle cell is basically a crescent moon or a "sickle" shape, hence the name. The sickle cells can get stuck in small arteries and veins because of their infamous shape and inability to squeeze through small areas, something regular red blood cells can do. The cause for this mutation is in the hemoglobin, a protein inside the red blood cell, which is what holds the oxygen being transported throughout the body (NIH, 2015). There is currently no cure for the sickle cell disease and it is also genetic. Both parents must pass the sickle cell disease on for major type but if one parent passes it and the other doesn't, the offspring will have a lesser version with both healthy and unhealthy cells called sickle cell trait (NIH, 2015). Although this sounds detrimental, this more “minor” disorder is asymptomatic and can be the salvation for certain people (Rosenthal, 2011). Even though this disease is genetic, there was a person who discovered that it was originally environmental. So how would have this sort of condition come
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