What effect does telomerase have on aging?
I know that it is supposed to have some effect on aging, but does it speed up aging or delay it? Also, can I get a little more detail on how it works as well?
Telomerase is an enzyme that slows aging. It adds a sequence of A’s and T’s (adenines and thymines) onto the end of DNA, because every time a cell duplicates a bit of end DNA is lost. As long as the end of DNA is this “junk” DNA, made by telomerase, (each repeating sequence is called a “telomere”), there is no damage to the genes in the DNA, but as you age the telomeres are used up and genes are damaged. The body begins to age because its DNA blueprints are being destroyed.
If we could somehow get telomerase to work indefinitely in the cells, we could have eternal youth. But it has been shown that this enzyme can cause cancer and isn’t safe to add to the body.. and probably wouldn’t work anyways.
Dr. Jack Szostak’s LAB. 2009 Nobel Laurette in medicine for his work on telomerase.