Re: Telomeres

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Thu Apr 27 2000 - 15:04:43 MDT

I have commented to Damien offlist about this, but it is worth
noting to the list as well. Any conclusions regarding telomeres
length and aging in such animals as mice, sheep, cows, etc. are
likely to be HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE if extrapolated to human aging.

Species that do not have long lifespans, such as mice, and farm
animals (bred for fast growth and other qualities, not longevity)
are likely to have different controls on teleomere length and
the length will have different effects vis-a-vis aging.

Other species, C. elegans, Drosophila, lobsters, etc. have very
different physiologies and are even further from mammalian models
of aging, and any extrapolations into the human arena should
be taken with an even greater grain of salt.

Telomere length is fundamentally an anti-cancer control mechanism.
When you see someone discussing telomere length in whales and
elephants, that will be something to write about (since it may
answer the question of whether they have similar anti-cancer
programs or different programs that we can steal).

Even when we fully understand telomeres and telomerase, and how
to regulate them, that will not be a "magic bullet" for aging
since it does not solve the problems of aging in non-dividing cells,
cell loss with age, accumulated DNA damage, etc, etc.


On Thu, 27 Apr 2000, Ross A. Finlayson wrote:

> "The study authors found the telomeres in the cloned cows were much
> longer than the cells used to create the original fetus.
> But they were also longer than telomeres in normal cows of the same age,
> and in many cases they were longer than telomeres in newborn calves. "

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