Why do Telomeres Get Shorter Each Time a Cell Divides?

11-20Before a cell can divide, it makes copies of its chromosomes so that both new cells will have identical genetic material. To be copied, a chromosome’s two DNA strands must unwind and separate. An enzyme (DNA polymerase) then reads the existing strands to build two new strands. It begins the process with the help of short pieces of RNA.

When each new matching strand is complete, it is a bit shorter than the original strand because of the room needed at the end for this small piece of RNA. It is like someone who paints himself into a corner and cannot paint the corner.

Source: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/chromosomes/telomeres/

Stay healthy my friends!

Dr. Torres, MD

CEO and Founder of Forever Young MD