Telomeres: What are they and how do they affect aging?

Telomeres are the “caps” that protect the ends of DNA strands from being damaged by a cell. They consist of regions of repeated DNA sequences combined with specific proteins at the ends of chromosomes – the tightly wound structures of DNA and proteins inside cells. Telomeres play a role in how quickly cells age, but exactly how is not entirely clear.

Organisms without circular chromosomes—including humans, other animals, plants, and even unicellular protists—have telomeres. Telomeres act as barriers, preventing DNA from being degraded and damaged.

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