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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2004 Feb;14(1):22-8.

Those dam-aged telomeres!

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Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Ontario Cancer Institute, 620 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C1, Canada.


Telomere integrity plays a crucial role in the capacity for continuous cell proliferation. In some circumstances, shortened telomeres contribute to cell arrest or death, but in others, shortened telomeres may actually enhance the incidence and spectrum of tumors. Resolution of this apparent paradox requires a more detailed understanding of a non-functional telomere. Recent evidence reveals that critically shortened or uncapped telomeres share molecular hallmarks of damaged DNA. It is likely that the cellular response to this DNA damage, influenced by the nature of the damage itself, affects the outcome of loss of telomere function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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