Tags: telomeres | RNA | chromosomes | DNA | telomerase

Lengthening Chromosomes May Lead to Eternal Life: Scientists

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 01:33 PM

Researchers at Stanford University may have discovered the key to eternal life — a modified RNA protein that extends the length of telomeres. Telomeres are the stretches of DNA that act as protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. Chromosomes, which protect our genes, get shorter every time a cell divides, and once a chromosome gets too short, it dies. Shortened chromosomes are associated with the diseases of aging and death.

RNA, or ribonucleic acid, helps transfer genetic information. Scientists modified RNA to contain the coding for an enzyme called telomerase, which is expressed by stem cells. When scientists treated skin cells with the modified RNA, the treated cells acted like much younger cells, multiplying as many as 40 times more than untreated cells.  

"We have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life, said Helen Blau, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford.

Scientists hope the new technique will allow them to study cells for much longer period of times and increase the number of cells available for studies.

"This study is a first step toward the development of telomere extension to improve cell therapies and to possibly treat disorders of accelerated aging in humans," said study co-author John Cooke, M.D., Ph.D.

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Researchers at Stanford University may have discovered the key to eternal life - a modified RNA protein that extends the length of telomeres. Telomeres are the stretches of DNA that act as protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. Chromosomes, which protect our genes, get...
telomeres, RNA, chromosomes, DNA, telomerase
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2015-33-04
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 01:33 PM
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