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Eur J Cancer. 2002 Nov;38(17):2222-8.

Mouse models to study the role of telomeres in cancer, aging and DNA repair.

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Department of Immunology and Oncology, National Centre of Biotechnology, E-28049, Madrid, Spain.


The chromosome ends have protective structures that distinguish them from broken chromosomes, known as telomeres. The function of telomeres, and that of the cellular activity that synthesises them, telomerase, are proposed to be biological determinants in the processes of cancer and aging. In this review, we will focus on mammalian telomeres and, in particular, on the analysis of different mouse models for proteins that are important for telomere function, such as telomerase and various telomere-binding proteins. These mouse models have allowed the relevance of telomeres and telomerase in tumour development and the aging of the organism to be directly tested.

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