Re: Immortal Human Cells

CurtAdams (
Wed, 14 Jan 1998 12:49:12 EST

In a message dated 1/14/98 10:17:01 AM, wrote:

>Reports of the death of the telomerase theory of aging have been greatly
>exaggerated. I think this is the biggest news since Dolly, and speaking of
>Dolly, there is a very obvious experiment that I'm sure somebody has thought
>of and already started.

There had already been several unsuccessful attempts to immortalize non-human
cells with telomerase. It was their failure which made me become very
skeptical of the telomerase theory. I remain puzzled how telomerase could
avert the chromosomal traslocations, fissions, and fusions characteristic
of senescing cells and wonder if the human telomerase has regulatory
functions as well as enzymatic ones.

Beating senescence is much bigger news than Dolly. Cloning doesn't change
things too much, really; you can spread genes faster than with conventional
breeding but it doesn't allow much of interest that you couldn't do anyway.
Being able to grow "normal" cells in vitro indefinitely has all kinds of
profound implications for research and organ replacement.