Telomeres and telomerase biology in vertebrates: progress towards a non-human model for replicative senescence and ageing

Biogerontology. 2005 Dec;6(6):371-85. doi: 10.1007/s10522-005-4901-4.


Studies on telomere and telomerase biology are fundamental to the understanding of human ageing and age-related diseases such as cancer. However, human studies of whole body ageing are hampered by the lack of suitable fully reflective animal model systems, the wild-type mouse model being unsuitable due to differences in telomere biology. Here we summarise recent data on the biology of telomeres, telomerase, and the tumour suppressor protein p53 in various animals, and examine their possible roles in replicative senescence, ageing, and tumourigenesis. The advantages and disadvantages of various animals as model systems for whole body ageing in humans are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Telomere / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Vertebrates


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Telomerase