Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What sort of telomere elongation methods are there currently?

Would this stop aging? (edit: No, probably)

I couldn't turn up anything good on google. I was thinking that maybe you could sequence the telomeres, trim them all at a certain point, and then engineer a polymerase molecule to extend from that same point. Is this how it's done?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It would be simpler to simply activate telomerase genes or insert them using some vector virus. However, telomerase is a key component in the process of tumoral transformation. Basically, if you don't let cells die they will stack mutations until they become tumoral.

share|improve this answer
I'm confused. I thought the issue with telomere length wasn't that it effects the longevity of the cell, but its ability to reproduce and have its offspring reproduce etc. So then wouldn't longer telomeres just let you have healthy cell reproduction in old age? – CornSmith Aug 30 '13 at 16:51
It isn't as simple. Many of the things that seems to cause aging are also defenses against cancer, like telomer lenght limitation (wich prevents cells to suffer too much mutations), DNA repair systems, and autoimmunity. For instance, you could overexpress any of those mechanisms in order to prevent cancer, but they lead to accelerated aging, and the opposite is also true. While it is still a polemic topic, it seems that animals have to choose between lifespan and cancer. – Miguel Ángel Naranjo Ortiz Aug 30 '13 at 17:31
I wonder if you activated telomerase in naked mole rats how long they would live. (they have cell density detection that kills all cancer, I've read) – CornSmith Sep 3 '13 at 23:01

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.