Investigations of telomeres and telomerase following ionizing radiation exposure
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Telomeres are critical structures located at the termini of eukaryotic chromosomes that regulate the replicative lifespan of human cells. Telomeres shorten with cell division, a process that eventually leads to telomere based growth arrest and cellular senescence. Telomere length is maintained through the activity of the reverse transcriptase, telomerase that functions in embryonic and adult stem cells to elongate telomeres and prolong replicative lifespan. Telomerase is repressed in the vast majority of human somatic cells, and its reactivation is a critical early step in carcinogenesis. Thus, ...