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Biobank study: People with longer telomeres live 2.5 years longer


Key points from article :

Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of our DNA.

Truncated during the process of DNA replication, making them shorter with each cellular division.

Lengthening telomeres doesn’t dramatically increase longevity.

Mice have telomeres 5-10 times longer than humans, has 30 times shorter life.

Researchers quantified telomere length using qPCR on peripheral leukocytes from the UK Biobank.

Identified 197 gene variants related to telomere length in the study population.

Including 12 for regulator of telomere elongation helicase 1 (RTEL1) and 13 for telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT).

Mathematically, these gene variants explained only 4.5% of the differences in telomere length between individuals.

At age 40, with 1 standard deviation higher than the average have 2.5 years longer life.

Genetics only accounted for a small percentage of the variation of telomere length across individuals.

Research by University of Leicester published in Nature Genetics.

New insights into the genetic regulation of leukocyte telomere length

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Scientific journal providing information on research in genetics.


Professor of Cardiology at University of Leicester.


Public research university for UK and international students