What does "aging faster" really mean?

Discussion of all aspects of cellular structure, physiology and communication.

Moderators: honeev, Leonid, amiradm, BioTeam

Post Reply
User avatar
Mirinee
Garter
Garter
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: U.K.

What does "aging faster" really mean?

Post by Mirinee » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:53 am

When news articles etc. say that some clones "aged faster", they explain it as that their cells have shortened telomeres and therefore the cells appear older than they really are, (e.g. a cloned sheep being 12 months old has cells which appear to be 6 years old). My question is, would the 12 month old sheep have an outward appearance of a six year old? Would this sheep be reaching adulthood a few years before a normal sheep?

The way I understand it right now is that the sheep would grow and reach puberty the same as normal sheep, except with older cells which are more likely to fail earlier, making the sheep live shorter. I find it hard to believe that "age faster" means the sheep grew to maturity faster.

It might be obvious, but it's a little tricky for non-biologists to understand, so thanks if anyone could explain a bit. Don't mind jargon. =)

User avatar
woolleyy
Death Adder
Death Adder
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:01 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Post by woolleyy » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:39 pm

That's interesting. Have heard about "aged cells" with short telomeres before also, but I don't know how much the telomeres are involved in the life cycle of the animal as a whole. I would think that the way you understand it is correct. The sheep would grow as normal, but degeneration of the cells would occur much faster than any other animal. Was going to write more but it's just waffle.

Anyone know if there are any other characteristics present in cloned cells apart from shortened telomeres? And what effect telomeres have on the cell and organism? I think that short telomeres would probably increase risk of cancer, but I'm not sure...

kcnq1ot1
Garter
Garter
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:57 am

Post by kcnq1ot1 » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:04 pm

telomeres are highly repetitive DNA at the end region of chromosome. Their role is to protect genes from damaging. DNA polymerase complex is responsible in replication and it cannot replicate the ends of chromosomes. -Just say it needs some place to work.- If there are no telomere region, very important genes would be lost, eventually the cell will die. everytime the cell divides it loses telomere regions. -aging-

User avatar
woolleyy
Death Adder
Death Adder
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:01 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Post by woolleyy » Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:15 pm

But then there's telomerase which adds repeats to the ends of the chromosomes...

What I was wondering was if there is any process by which the the cell knows how old it is, and maybe "aging" is influenced in that way? Am I explaining myself well?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 9 guests