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Mech Ageing Dev. 2008 Jan-Feb;129(1-2):17-26. Epub 2007 Oct 30.

Telomere length inheritance and aging.

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  • 1Telomeres & Cancer Laboratory, UMR7147, Institut Curie-CNRS-UPMC, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Telomere shortening accompanies human aging, and premature aging syndromes are often associated with short telomeres. These two observations are central to the hypothesis that telomere length directly influences longevity. If true, genetically determined mechanisms of telomere length homeostasis should significantly contribute to variations of longevity in the human population. On the other hand, telomere shortening is also observed in the course of many aging-associated disorders but determining whether it is a cause or a consequence is not an easy task. Here, we review the most relevant experimental and descriptive data relating telomere length, as a quantitative trait, to aging and longevity.

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