SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Telomeres and Longevity in Zebra Finches
from Smithsonian Magazine
A telomere is like an aglet. Aglets are those plastic or metal tubular thingies at the end of your shoe laces that keep the end of the shoelace from becoming frayed and facilitate inserting the lace into the eyelet. A telomere is a sequence of base pairs at the end of a chromosome.
A chromosome zips apart during cell division so that it can be replicated, and a small number of base pairs typically get lost during replication. This is because the molecular machinery that duplicates the chromosome can't read through to the end of the strand, so it just skips the last bit.
Any meaningful genetic information at the end of the chromosome would be lost or garbled. A nice long telomere at the end of the chromosome allows for multiple duplications without the loss of meaningful information, but over time even the telomere may be lost through attrition, and further replication of that chromosome would be a problem.
Subscribe to Our Content!
Visit our RSS Feeds page to choose among 13 customized feeds, or create a free My AmSci account to request an email notice whenever a specified author, department or discipline appears online.
A free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.
An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns,
and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.
News of book reviews published in
and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.
To sign up for automatic emails of the
Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an
online profile, then sign up in the
My AmSci area.
Science in the Media
Magazines and Web Sites:
The Science-Media Intersection: