ASU Telomere Research,
Assistant professor: Julian Chen
Graduate students: Chris Bley and Xiaodong Qi
MSTF participating teacher: Colin Schwartzmann of Florence School district
U of A participating teacher: Justin Sherrill of Gilbert School district

How long are your telomeres? TTAGGG could be the fountain of youth… or a better chance to get cancer. Telomeres provide a buffer zone for chromosomes to replicate without attaching in odd ways to other chromosomes. Every time a DNA molecule replicates, it loses part of the telomere. Without telomeres, cells could not replicate and would eventually die, however, the telomeres can allow the cell to live indefinitely if they are replaced. The telomeres are replaced by TERT or Telomerase reverse transcriptase which is a protein that extends the telomeres to allow the cell to further replicate. The cells that normally have active TERT are stem cells, germ line cells and most tumors.

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