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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Apr;1792(4):324-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2009.02.004. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Telomere length maintenance in stem cell populations.

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School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3, UK.


The maintenance of telomere length is essential for upholding the integrity of the genome. There is good evidence to suggest that telomere length maintenance in stem cell populations is important to facilitate the cell division required for tissue homeostasis. This is balanced against the requirement in long lived species for proliferative life span barriers for tumour suppression; the gradual erosion of telomeres provides one such barrier. The dynamics of telomeres in stem cell populations may thus be crucial in the balance between tumour suppression and tissue homeostasis. Here we briefly discuss our current understanding of telomere dynamics in stem cell populations, and provide some data to indicate that telomeres in human embryonic stem cells may be more stable and less prone to large-scale stochastic telomeric deletion.

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