Assuming I am understanding the concept correctly, Hayflick Limits are reflective of a cells capacity for stable division. Additionally, the Hayflick Limits of various organisms differs.

My question is, what organism has the longest Hayflick Limit? I know humans have one ranging from 40-60, just to give a bit context.


1 Answer 1


The Hayflick limit is generally associated with telomere length. Human telomeres are a little on the long side as species go, but are not extraordinary. Many species of mice, and other rodents, have far longer telomeres than humans, for example, and obviously have much shorter lifespans. There's also such a thing as a "mega-telomere", found in a number of bird species, which can hundreds of times longer than human telomeres.

There's only a vague correlation between telomere length and a species' lifespan. See Comparative biology of mammalian telomeres: hypotheses on ancestral states and the roles of telomeres in longevity determination for a starting point. Telomeres are a part of the longevity story, but probably a fairly small part.

That said I don't see an explicit statement that those species with very long telomeres have a higher Hayflick limit. I assume this is because the Hayflick limit is an ultra-simplistic and not very useful description of a very specific set of conditions, but I don't know that for sure.

  • $\begingroup$ You rightfully point out that long teleomeres do not necessarily implicate a big Hayfilck limit. But the original question was "what organism has the longest Hayflick Limit?" and I'm still waiting for an answer to that. $\endgroup$
    – user21844
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ Testing the Hayflick limit is extremely tedious and expensive (hundreds of cell passages may mean years of lab time, maybe thousands or tens of thousands of dollars worth of lab equipment) and has little biological interest today. It's unlikely there's going to be any kind of comparative study, so this is probably as good as you're going to get. $\endgroup$
    – iayork
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand the link between telomere and lifespan: why do longer telomeres give shorter lifespan? It should be the opposite, isn't it? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 6, 2022 at 16:26

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