repression of telomerase as natural selection

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at
Wed Jan 20 08:25:55 EST 1999

clejan wrote:

> Why has evolution selected for telomerase repression in most somatic
> cells? I use to think this was advantageous as a defense against cancer,
> but with the new Geron results, I'm not so sure. Any ideas?

As things stand, the "defence against cancer" hypothesis is still the
best available.  The new Geron results don't challenge it.  What Geron
have shown is that cells which lack that defence are nevertheless pretty
good at not becoming cancerous.  One interpretation of that is that the
telomerase repression makes a pretty good anti-cancer system even better.

Aubrey de Grey

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