Monday, January 23, 2017


Did you know that Elizabeth Blackburn, working with Joseph Gall at Yale University is generally credited with discovering the unusual nature of telomeres? According to research led by DalgĂ„rd (study conclusions were printed in the International Journal of Epidemiology, a telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes. When your cells divide and multiply, naturally the DNA must divide and replicate, as well. Telomeres cap off each end of each DNA strand much like the little plastic pieces on each end of a shoelace. These telomere “caps” get a bit shorter with each replication unless they are balanced by the enzyme Telomerase, which can help prevent the shortening. When you are out of caps you’re out of replication potential, which has everything to do with length of life. In other words, as telomeres shorten, eventually cells reach their replicative limit and progress into old age. Several questions were about what can be done, if anything to slow the rate of shortening. More tomorrow.

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