Telomerase Activity in Spermatogonia
Telomere and Aging Geneticist Richard Cawthon and his colleagues at the University of Utah found out that people who have shorter telomeres live shorter lives. This team noted that for people who were older than 60 years, those who had shorter telomeres were three times likely to die from a heart condition and eight times more likely to die from an infectious disease than the other people. While it has been noted that telomere shortening is linked with the aging process, it has not been conclusively known that the shorter telomeres are a sign of aging i.e. do people who begin to have gray hair have shorter telomere (Buckingham & Klingelhutz, 2011).
Research has shown that for some long-lived species such as humans have shorter telomeres than for animals that live for a shorter lifespan than humans such as mice do. However, in a study that was conducted by Cawthon, he found out that if people are divided into two groups based on their telomere length, the half that has long telomeres will live on average for five years longer than for people who have short telomeres. In this study, it suggested that the lifespan of people could be increased by five years if their telomeres were increased (Rehman, 2014).
In the study, it revealed that for people with telomeres that as they age, their telomere shortens. There is the speculation that if scientists are able to stop the telomeres from completely shortening, then they will be able to prevent people from aging. For Cawthon, he believes that this technology will be available to scientists in the next 10 to 30 years. The research further noted that after people reach the age of 60 years, their risk of death doubles after every 8 years.
Therefore, it means that a disease such as cardiovascular disease will likely kill a person who is 68 years old than a person who is 60 years old. Researchers have been conducting research in order to see if they can be able to use telomerase in order to prevent the normal cells from aging. They feel that if telomerase is used in order to ‘immortalize’ human cells, then it will be able to mass-produce the cells that will be used for transplantation. This will include muscle cells that have been used for muscular dystrophy, cartilage cells for various kinds of arthritis, and skin cells that will be used to heal severe burns and wounds.
Importance of This Study
Previous researches have shown that one the central mechanism responsible for the aging of cells has been the shortening of the telomeres. The telomeres act as protective caps during the repetitive DNA sequences that occur at the ends of the chromosomes. There are speculations that if one’s body had long telomeres they would allow one’s cells to keep on dividing and restore the tissue. However, having short telomeres will mean that after a short period of regeneration, …