Re: Telomeres and stuff

From: John Clark (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 23:36:12 MDT

Robert J. Bradbury <> Wrote:

>So I'll live to 150 with skin cells that are "pretty"
>(execpt where they are malignant), and with intestinal and stomach
>cells that are "pretty" (except where they are malignant) and with
>a very robust immune system (except where they are malignant).

But after 93 divisions, 50% more than in a normal lifetime, there was still
no evidence of an increase in malignancy. Ok the divisions were done in
vitro not in an animal but I would think, perhaps foolishly, that if anything that
would increase the likelihood of cancer occurring in the cells not decrease it.

>that is a *far cry* from keeping alive an organism over many years
>(where background radiation plays a significant hazard).

Good point but if they increased the normal background radiation by a factor
of 60 or 70 while the cells divided 93 times in vitro and they still didn't get a
catastrophic increase in cancer then that would eliminate that worry. I think.
Anyway, it doesn't seem like a particularly difficult experiment but to my
knowledge it has not been done.

> Ever since Fossil's book, everyone has thought that "aging" is
> associated with telomere shortening and quite simply that is crap.

It sounds like you're saying that there is no possibility telomere shortening
has anything to do with aging, not in any way shape or form. Skepticism is
always healthy in science but cynicism is not and I don't think the evidence
can support such an extreme view.

                           John K Clark

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