Telomeres are repetitive nucleotide sequences that are found at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. They serve several important functions in the cell, including:
Protecting the ends of chromosomes from damage or from being recognized as broken DNA.
Maintaining the stability of the genome by preventing the loss of genetic information that can occur during replication.
Facilitating the proper segregation of chromosomes during cell division.
In addition to these functions, telomeres are also involved in the regulation of cellular aging. Telomeres shorten with each round of DNA replication, and when they become too short, the cell can no longer divide and enters a state of senescence (permanent cell cycle arrest). This process is thought to play a role in the aging of tissues and in the development of age-related diseases.
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