Allele-specific relative telomere lengths are inherited

Hum Genet. 2006 Apr;119(3):344-50. doi: 10.1007/s00439-006-0137-x. Epub 2006 Jan 27.


Previous studies have indicated that single relative telomere lengths are defined in the zygote. In order to explore the possibility that single telomere lengths segregate in families, we compared relative telomere lengths obtained from allelic chromosome extremities transmitted from parent to child, representing a total of 31 independent meiotic events. We find a significant positive correlation of 0.65 (P=0.0004) between these telomere lengths, whereas the correlation between the non-transmitted parental homologue and the transmitted homologue in the child is not statistically significant (r=0.16; P=0.195). This study indicates that, even though there is a telomerase-mediated maintenance/elongation of telomeres in germ cells, allele-specific relative telomere lengths are preserved in the next generation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Chromosomal Instability
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Chromosomes, Human / chemistry
  • Family
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns
  • Models, Biological
  • Parents
  • Peptide Nucleic Acids / analysis
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers
  • Peptide Nucleic Acids
  • Telomerase