AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Telomere the Tell all?

Scientists have recently discovered that they can predict life expectancy based on the length of the telomere in patients with heart disease. Telomeres which are protective, non coding regions at the ends of chromosomes get shorter over time due to cell division. The replication of DNA shortens our telomeres and our chromosomes. This makes us more susceptible to age-related “diseases such as heart disease or cancer, as well as exposure to oxidative damage from stress, smoking, air pollution, or conditions that accelerate biologic aging.” ( length used to be used to show age in a person but recently it also seems to be correlated with their chance of survival with heart disease. In a study conducted with 3,500 heart attack and stroke patients, researchers stated that those with longer telomeres had a greater chance of survival. In the future doctors believe that judging from the telomeres in patients, they could increase their effectiveness in treating heart disease.

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  1. thephilosopher

    It is interesting that telomeres are correlated with an increased chance of survival with heart disease considering that telomeres in heart tissue don’t shorten because the cells that contain them don’t continually divide. Also the presence of telomerase can keep telomeres from wearing down too quickly.

  2. leahna
    This is fascinating! According to the article above, scientists are learning to apply toelomerase to human telomeres without having them become cancerous in hopes of increasing life expectancy.

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