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Telomerase - an elixir of life?

Scientists have made normal cells in a test tube multiply indefinitely by adding telomerase. Some have claimed that telomerase could be used as an 'elixir of life', but this is unlikely. Apart from germ cells, the only other cells that can multiply indefinitely are cancer cells. Allowing old, damaged cells to carry on growing and dividing forever would probably have disastrous results.

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Telomeres at the ends of these mouse chromosomes appear red in this image.

 

Principal Funder:

Wellcome trust

Major Sponsors:

GlaxoSmithKline life technologies