Telomeres & Longevity

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Telomeres & Longevity

Post  deviadah on Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:47 pm

Spin-off from this thread.

A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the end of chromosomes, which protects the end of the chromosome from destruction. Its name is derived from the Greek nouns telos end and merοs part.
During cell division, the enzymes that duplicate the chromosome and its DNA can't continue their duplication all the way to the end of the chromosome. If cells divided without telomeres, they would lose the end of their chromosomes, and the necessary information it contains.

The telomere is a disposable buffer, which is consumed during cell division and is replenished by an enzyme, the telomerase reverse transcriptase.

This mechanism usually limits cells to a fixed number of divisions, and animal studies suggest that this is responsible for aging on the cellular level and affects lifespan. Telomeres protect a cell's chromosomes from fusing with each other or rearranging. These chromosome abnormalities can lead to cancer, so cells are normally destroyed when telomeres are consumed. Most cancer is the result of cells bypassing this destruction. Biologists speculate that this mechanism is a tradeoff between aging and cancer. - source


Last edited by deviadah on Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:00 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Shay & Wright

Post  deviadah on Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:54 pm

At the tips of the DNA molecule contain a chain of repeating enzymes called telomeres (kinda like the blank leaders on film or the plastic covering on the ends of shoe laces). These telomeres provide a shock-absorbing zone where replication errors will not result in any of the vital DNA sequence being lost. When cells die, due to free radicals, they duplicate and life goes on. But each time a small portion of the DNA molecule is lost and not copied.

This loss is usually to the telomere and it has been noted that as humans grow older these telomeres shorten till eventually they are so short that the losses in replication affect the vital DNA molecule sequence thus preventing the cell from its ability to duplicate, which brings about the aging process.

Only in the germ cells, that are the progenitors of sperm and egg, are the telomeres restored by an enzyme called telomerase making them basically immortal. Also in cancer cells are the telomeres restored and this is the reason why tumours are so deadly, because they can duplicate ad infinitum.

Scientists, like Dr. Jerry Shay and Dr. Woodring Wright, have artificially lengthened the telomeres in cells and the result was a prolonged life the equivalent of an extra hundreds of years of human life. Now it has not yet been fully understood and is in no way a practice, yet, that could safely be applied to a living human being and cause him/her to become practically immortal. What is important to note, though, are the following five points:

1. Eating, and eating wrong, causes excessive amounts of free radicals.
2. Free radicals cause cells to die.
3. When cells die they duplicate.
4. Each time cells duplicate the telomeres in the DNA molecule are shortened.
5. When the telomeres become too short the DNA data is lost and aging is the result followed by death.
Shamshir_Zomorrodnegar wrote:...a compound extracted from astragalus root has proven to lengthen telomeres.

here is a thread from another forum on the subject.

http://forum.lef.org/default.aspx?f=43&m=41122
Interesting... plants is the cure of all things, I am sure!

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Re: Telomeres & Longevity

Post  Ihib on Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:38 pm

While certain plants will increase the length of the telomeres, prolonging life, I doubt a plant can reorganize the system, allowing the body to restore the telomeres by itself.

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