, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 145-151

How long should telomeres be?

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Abstract

What began as a study of the "end-replication problem" took on a new dimension as it became clear that telomeres are a "molecular clock" of replication in human somatic cells. Here we review the biology of telomeres in vitro and in vivo, in mice and humans. We suggest that, in humans, telomeres are involved in the biology of aging and pathobiology of disorders of aging, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. We also propose that the underlying dynamics of telomere biology is in line with broad principles of evolutionary theories.