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Do cells divide into exact duplicates? If not, is there a way to determine how many times a given cell divided?

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  • $\begingroup$ I suppose you implicitly talk about multicellular organisms and implicitely mean "since last fertilization" and not "since the origin of life" or anything else. Is that right? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Mar 5 '16 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ Do you ask this question by curiosity or because you are trying to achieve something specific? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Mar 5 '16 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b yes, multi cellular, since last fertilization. Curiosity, and maybe a way to determine "objective" age of an organism $\endgroup$ – Sparkler Mar 5 '16 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ There is no such thing as objective age except eventually the time separating fertilization to the current time. You are trying to find an estimate of this age, not a new definition of the age of an organism. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Mar 5 '16 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Telomere length is probably something that you want to consider. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Mar 5 '16 at 17:49
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Yes, its called the HayFlick limit. A cell will divide until their telomeres reach a critical length,which is usually around 40 to 60 cell divisions. The cells then enter cellular senescence and cease to divide. However, cells may also stop dividing due to (ROS) or reactive oxygen species, cell to cell fusions, or activation of oncogenes, the latter of which is a gene that has the potential to cause cancer.

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