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FEBS Lett. 2009 Sep 17;583(18):3076-80. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.08.029. Epub 2009 Aug 29.

Short telomeres are preferentially elongated by telomerase in human cells.

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Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK.


Short telomeres have been shown to be preferentially elongated in both yeast and mouse models. We examined this in human cells, by utilising cells with large allelic telomere length differentials and observing the relative rates of elongation following the expression of hTERT. We observed that short telomeres are gradually elongated in the first 26 PDs of growth, whereas the longer telomeres displayed limited elongation in this period. Telomeres coalesced at similar lengths irrespective of their length prior to the expression of hTERT. These data indicate that short telomeres are marked for gradual elongation to a cell strain specific length threshold.

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