Telomeres and Telomerase in Aging and Cancer

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1995 Apr;5(2):249-55. doi: 10.1016/0959-437x(95)80016-6.


Telomeres are maintained by the novel ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase. Telomerase activity is repressed in most somatic human cells, leading to telomere loss during replicative aging in vivo and in vitro. However, telomerase appears to be reactivated in essentially all human cancers. With the recent cloning of the RNA component of telomerase from several species, the stage is now set for critical tests of the role of telomeres and telomerase in aging and cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Telomere*


  • DNA
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase