Human is a unique species among primates in terms of telomere length

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Sep 24;263(2):308-14. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1999.1385.


TRF (terminal restriction fragments) length in various tissues of non-human primates such as Macaca mulatta (rhesus monkey), Macaca fuscata (Japanese monkey), Macaca fascicularis (crab-eating monkey), Pan troglodytes (common chimpanzee), and Pongo pygmaeus (orangutan) was at least 23 kb without exception, which was quite different from that of human somatic tissues (smaller than 10 kb). The distribution pattern of telomerase activity among tissues was similar between human and non-human primates, while the activity level showed some differences such as that strong telomerase activity was observed in gastrointestinal and lymphocytic tissues from non-human primates. The human appears to be a unique species among primates in terms of telomere length.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Female
  • Hominidae / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Macaca / genetics*
  • Male
  • Pan troglodytes / genetics
  • Pongo pygmaeus / genetics
  • Telomerase / analysis
  • Telomere*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Telomerase
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes