Hayflick, his limit, and cellular ageing

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Oct;1(1):72-6. doi: 10.1038/35036093.


Almost 40 years ago, Leonard Hayflick discovered that cultured normal human cells have limited capacity to divide, after which they become senescent -- a phenomenon now known as the 'Hayflick limit'. Hayflick's findings were strongly challenged at the time, and continue to be questioned in a few circles, but his achievements have enabled others to make considerable progress towards understanding and manipulating the molecular mechanisms of ageing.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Cell Division*
  • Cells, Cultured / physiology*
  • Cellular Senescence*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Telomerase

Personal name as subject

  • L Hayflick