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Biological Sciences
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Rahul Warrior

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Telomeres Mice that are homozygous for loss-of-function mutations of the TERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase) gene give rise to developmental defects The defects are first observed in the fourth and fifth generations, due to loss of telomere length with each generation By the fourth and fifth generations, shortening of chromosomes is critical and apoptosis is induced Telomere length is important for chromosome stability, cell longevity, and reproductive success Telomerase is active in germ-line cells and some stem cells in eukaryotes Telomerase inactivity is associated with normal aging of cells Acondition known as Werner syndrome causes early onset of some features of aging Amutation in RECQL2, a gene encoding a helicase required for telomerase activity, is the cause of Werner syndrome Differentiated somatic cells and cells in culture have virtually no telomerase activity; such cells have limited life spans (30 to 50 cell divisions) • Telomerase is normally turned off in somatic cells • Reactivation of telomerase can lead to aging cells that continue to proliferate, a feature of many types of cancer • TERT reactivation is one of the most common mutations in cancers of all types • Telomeres are found at the ends of chromo- somes and are important fo
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