Washington, Mar. 02 (ANI): The DNA strands on the end of chromosomes may help predict when people are going to die.
BYU biologist Jonathan Alder stated that, DNA end caps, called telomeres, are the great predictors of life expectancy: the shorter your telomeres, the shorter your lifespan.
But that’s not the only thing these fascinating strands of DNA predict. Shorter telomeres also indicate a greater chance for bone marrow failure, liver disease, skin disease and lung disease.
Alder was currently studying the gene mutations that cause people to have unnaturally short telomeres. Recent research he coauthored with collaborators at Johns Hopkins University found those mutations are connected to both pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema.
Telomeres are the protective tip of our chromosomes, kind of like the plastic cap on the end of a shoelace. Each time a cell divides and replicates, the DNA at the end of telomeres shorten. Since cell division happens throughout life, telomeres get shorter and shorter as we age.