Researchers are claiming to have found “conclusive evidence” that the link between longevity and chromosome caps called telomeres is more complicated than originally thought.


The shortening of telomeres, which cap the end of all human chromosomes and diminish with cell division, has been linked to aging and physical decline. Preventing this shortening has been seen as one approach to extending healthy lifespan.



Jan Karlseder, Andrew Dillin and colleagues at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have now shown in Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms, however, that this connection isn’t so direct.



The researchers have shown that the worms can succumb to old age despite having long telomeres and can move youthfully despite having short telomeres.



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