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This includes biologists deciphering the complex mechanisms and interactions between the different components of telomeres and telomerase, as well as clinicians aiming to use telomere lengths as a biomarker for aging and diseases.
Ever more details emerge about the tightly-regulated interaction of telomerase activity in the regulation of telomere lengths, and many mechanisms still remain a mystery, ready to be solved.
Telomerase activity is under tight physiological regulation in human tissues, where the enzyme is active in only a few adult tissues, such as endothelial cells and lymphocytes, but can be up-regulated in many types of adult stem cells.
Telomere shortening has been associated with cellular senescence and the aging process, as well as major diseases, such as atherosclerosis, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
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Telomere length has been accepted widely as a biomarker of aging.
Recently, a novel candidate biomarker has been suggested to predict an individual’s chronological age with high accuracy: The epigenetic clock is based on the weighted DNA methylation (DNAm) fraction of a number of cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites (Cp Gs) selected by penalized regression analysis.