, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 169-172

Real-time quantitative PCR of telomere length

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Abstract

Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes and are essential for the protection of chromosomes, as well as restricting the replicative potential of a cell. These functions are achieved by the regulation of telomeric repeat length, making the measurement of telomere length a useful aid in the elucidation of the replicative history and potential of cells. Previously published techniques employed either hybridization or flow cytometry methods, which are technically demanding and time-consuming. In 2002, R. M. Cawthon published a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method for telomere length measurement using the Applied Biosystems Prism 7700 sequence detection system. The technique measures the factor by which the ratio of telomere repeat copy number to single-gene copy number differs between a sample and that of a reference deoxyribonucleic acid sample. In many laboratories worldwide, including ours, real-time PCR is carried out using the Roche LightCycler, as opposed to the AB Prism 7700 system. This benchmark details the modifications to Cawthon’s method and describes the parameters and reagents required to measure telomere length using the Roche LightCycler.