Genetic Disorders and Birth Defects

What is telomerase?

A Answers (2)

  • A , Dermatology, answered
    The epidermis is one of the few regenerative tissues in the body with an enzyme called telomerase, which regulates the growth at the ends of chromosomes (bundles of DNA where genetic info is stored). Telomeres are specialized stretches of DNA that cap the ends of human chromosomes, helping to protect them from damage and degradation. Each time a cell divides, its telomeres get a little bit shorter. Eventually, if the telomeres become too short to divide, the cell will die. Age-related diseases and premature aging syndromes are characterized by short telomeres.
  • Telomerase is a cell protein that scientists involved in aging research are studying to determine if it can be used to extend a cell's natural lifespan. All cells contain telomerase, but this protein is inactive except in abnormal cells like tumors and germ cells. Here, telomerase contains an RNA template that can produce new repetitive strings of DNA found at the ends of chromosome pairs. Theoretically, if active telomerase is added to normal adult cells, they will continue to replicate long beyond their biological limit. This could extend a cell's life, and human life.

This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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