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Nature. 1995 Aug 3;376(6539):403-9.

Runaway telomere elongation caused by telomerase RNA gene mutations.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California at San Francisco 94143, USA.


The ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase adds telomeric DNA onto chromosome ends and is normally regulated so that telomeric DNA lengths are kept within defined bounds. In the telomerase RNA gene from the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis, specific mutations that alter telomeric DNA sequences result in telomeres elongating to up to 100 times their normal length and impair cell growth. Some mutations cause immediate elongation whereas others behave like genetic time bombs, causing elongation only after a latent period of hundreds of generations.

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