Complexity Digest 2007.39 - 16
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Minimum Telomere Length Defined For Healthy Cells - Mechanism For Chromosome Corruption Also Revealed., Nature
Excerpts: In addition to the steady loss associated with ageing, random mutations can cause large stochastic deletions that dramatically shrink telomeres in young, healthy cells. Baird's team focused on such cells from fetal human lung cultures whose telomeres had shrunk to the threshold length of less than 77 base pairs long. "These were normal human cells that had long, functional telomeres," says Baird. "You wouldn't expect any telomeric problems."
The critical telomere length was 12.8 repeats (of six base pairs) long, they found - any shorter and the chromosomes began to fuse together at their ends (...).
- Source: Minimum Telomere Length Defined For Healthy Cells - Mechanism For Chromosome Corruption Also Revealed.
[ http://www.nature.com/news/2007/071003/full/449515a.html ], Heidi Ledford, DOI: 10.1038/449515a,, Nature 449, 515, 07/10/03