This may be a stupid question, but I've been wondering. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres on the chromosomes shorten. If this goes on for long enough, the chromosomes will no longer have telomeres and the chromosome will deteriorate. Thus, the average cell will divide between 50-70 times before cell death.

Cancerous cells divide uncontrollably fast, of course. But can they reach the Hayflick limit? Considering how quickly they multiply, it shouldn't be impossible, right?

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    $\begingroup$ Most tumor cells express telomerase, which rebuilds lost telomere sequences. Coincidentally, this is also how undifferentiated stem cells divide forever. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Aug 5 '16 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo -- why didn't you make that an answer? $\endgroup$ – Jenn D. Aug 6 '16 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JennD. I might when I have time. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Aug 6 '16 at 14:54

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