In this talk about the discovery of telomeric DNA and telomerase, Elizabeth Blackburn explains that with each round of replication, the protective repeats, or telomeres, on the end of chromosomes shorten, eventually leading to cellular senescence. Blackburn and her colleagues reasoned that there must be an enzyme that rebuilds the lost telomere so cell division can continue. She explains how this enzyme, called telomerase, was found and discusses its key role in cellular aging.
Dr. Blackburn is a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research. She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres-the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information – and discovered the enzyme telomerase, which replenishes telomeres. Blackburn is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and… Continue Reading