Question: Telomeres are found in rapidly developing cells and in cancers.
It is thought that the telomeres …


Telomeres are found in rapidly developing cells and in cancers.
It is thought that the telomeres are responsible for cancer’s
immortality. It is also felt that they determine the maximum number
of divisions a cell can go through. As cells age, they lose
telomeres and the enzyme responsible for making telomeres. Human
blood cells start out at birth with 8000 base pairs (bp) in their
telomeres, as we age it can drop to 3000 bp and in the elderly they
drop to about 1500 bp. During each successive cell division, the
cell can lose from 30-200 bp.(from
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/traits/telomeres/)
Humans would love to find a ‘fountain of youth’ – could telomeres
be that fountain?

Questions:

– Why do we lose telomeres as we age?

– Why might cells ‘age’ as they lose
telomeres?

– If you could preserve the length of your telomeres and
be immortal like a cancer, would you? Why or why not?

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