Telomeric shrinkage as a basis for ageing?

Andrew Pierce ajpierce at med.unc.edu
Thu Jun 11 00:18:06 EST 1992

   I have heard this theory before too.  Now a question:  if cells can
only divide 50 times before becoming senescent, then why not only have
telomerase in germ-line cells, extend the gametic telomeres by a few
thousand bases and then just forget about it for the life of the adult
organism?  Is there a reason why telomerase is more widespread?  Can it
"cauterize" the ends of accidental double stand chromosomal breaks?  I was
under the impression that the telomerase's RNA template needed a small
region of pairing with the existing chromosomal DNA to get the addition of
telemeric sequences to start.  What other possible functions could this
enzyme have?
ajpierce at med.unc.edu

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