Massively parallel single-molecule telomere length measurement with digital real-time PCR

Sci Adv. 2020 Aug 21;6(34):eabb7944. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb7944. Print 2020 Aug.


Telomere length is a promising biomarker for age-associated diseases and cancer, but there are still substantial challenges to routine telomere analysis in clinics because of the lack of a simple and rapid yet scalable method for measurement. We developed the single telomere absolute-length rapid (STAR) assay, a novel high-throughput digital real-time PCR approach for rapidly measuring the absolute lengths and quantities of individual telomere molecules. We show that this technique provides the accuracy and sensitivity to uncover associations between telomere length distribution and telomere maintenance mechanisms in cancer cell lines and primary tumors. The results indicate that the STAR assay is a powerful tool to enable the use of telomere length distribution as a biomarker in disease and population-wide studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't