In humans, can telomerase be introduced postnatally? If so what are the effects?
Telomeres are the end of chromosomes and contain no critical dna information. Telomeres shorten with every cell division. When the telomere becomes so short that the cell cannot divide the cell ages. Telomerase is an enzyme that lengthens telomeres, restores life in a sense. The unfortunate thing is telomerase is only introduced in gamete production, or production of sperm and egg cells. THis is why new borns have fresh, long telomeres and the cycle of life begins again. My question is what happens when telomerase is introduced POSTnatally? Has this been attempted in lab animals? If so what was the result?
Telomerase is produced,postnatally, in certain unfortunate individuals. A series of cell mutations occur and telomerase acts to, continually, restore the cell. This causes an unlimited growth potential. The cells grow and cause all sorts of difficulties (absorb resources that other cells need, intrude on other organs and so on). Telomerase affected cells also have another name – cancer. Cancer is an overgrowth of cells. In fact, there is ongoing research designed to attack cancer by disabling telomerase. Without it, the cancer cells will die off like any other cell.
Hope this helps.
Liz Blackburn 1/3