Telomere questions

Kevin Paul Grant grant at
Thu Apr 11 02:14:12 EST 1996

Admittedly it is far too early to peg telomere shortening (loss?  I don't
know the proper terminology here) as the cause of ageing, but from what
I read on the net there would seem to be a strong connection.  Two
questions come to my mind.  First, is there some material that a
person like myself (not a biology major) can read and understand on
the subject?  Second, to date, has any method been found that
prevents or significantly slows down the rate of telomere shortening?
It seems to me that the latter might place you in a bit higher risk of
cancer than otherwise though.
Recently I saw a TV interview in which some Ph.D. or other said that
many cells in the human body were effectlively immortal.  Do these
cells (if this is true) achieve this via prevention of telomere
shortening, and if so (and this is the big question here) do these
kinds of cells show a greater tendency to go cancerous than other
types of cells?  If not, what prevents this?
All of this assumes that my questions are not so off base as to make
no sense at all...
grant at

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