In this review we present critical overview of some of the available literature on the fundamental biology of telomeres and telomerase in Metazoan. With the exception of Nematodes and Arthropods, the (TTAGGG)(n) sequence is conserved in most Metazoa. Available data show that telomerase-based end maintenance is a very ancient mechanism in unicellular and multicellular organisms. In invertebrates, fish, amphibian, and reptiles persistent telomerase activity in somatic tissues might allow the maintenance of the extensive regenerative potentials of these species. Telomerase repression among birds and many mammals suggests that, as humans, they may use replicative aging as a tumor protection mechanism.
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