Al writes "Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created a protein that can carry and deliver oxygen — a useful step towards developing artificial blood. This would avoid the problems involved with donor blood — contamination, limited storage, and short supply — and lead to easier and faster blood transfusions on the battlefield and in trauma cases. The Penn researchers used three amino acids to make a four-helix columned protein structure put a smaller structure, called a heme, inside it. The heme is a large flat molecule that has an iron atom at its center, which oxygen binds to. The researchers also made the protein structure flexible, so that it can open to receive the oxygen and close again without letting any water in. They did this by linking together the helical columns with loops to restrict their motions, giving the final structure a candelabra shape."