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?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Most tumor cells express telomerase, which rebuilds lost telomere sequences. Coincidentally, this is also how undifferentiated stem cells divide forever. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Aug 5, 2016 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo -- why didn't you make that an answer? $\endgroup$
    – Jenn D.
    Aug 6, 2016 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JennD. I might when I have time. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Aug 6, 2016 at 14:54


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .