Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting to something interesting in the end.

Telomeres and telomerase are generally interesting features of our genetic make up anyway. The telomere is a small piece of DNA at the end of each of your chromosomes, sort of a place holder to stop the enzymes that read your DNA from dropping off the end when they get to the end. When they do get replicated they can have little bits chopped off the end, which results in shorter and shorter chromosomes. When it gets to short, it can't be replicated any more, making it one of the factors involved in ageing. And when the enzyme (telomerase) that extends the shortened regions gets out of hand, cancer.  The scientist who found them in the first place has been advancing her work. Apart from roles in ageing and cancer, it appears there are correlations between telomere length and numerous other health problems. Not cause and effect mind, but correlation. Pretty cool, I have to say. And it does set the brain wondering about what's going in there.

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