The Science

Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age.

Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.

Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.

Telomeres are shortened as we age, but can also be shortened by stress, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and a poor diet.

What is Telomerase?

Telomerase, also called telomere terminal transferase, is a ribonucleoprotein that adds the polynucleotide "TTAGGG" to the 3' end of telomeres, at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes.

Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase enzyme that carries its own RNA molecule (with the pattern of "CCCAAUCCC" in vertebrates), which is used as a template for adding new bases onto the ends of telomeres. It can replace the section of telomere that is lost in each cell division, so the chromosomes don’t shorten.

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