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About this Talk
In the 1980s, scientists knew that DNA polymerase could not copy the ends of chromosomes, yet chromosome ends were still largely maintained in an organism. Additionally, they observed that the ends of chromosomes consist of highly repetitive sequences they called telomeres. Blackburn and her colleagues hypothesized that the cell must have a mechanism to add telomeres to prevent chromosome shortening during replication. In this video, Youreka Science describes the experiment that demonstrated the existence of a distinct enzyme, later named telomerase, that adds telomeres to the ends of chromosomes. This enzyme was later found to be involved in aging, cancer, and other diseases.
This video is a complement to Elizabeth Blackburn’s iBiology Discovery talk, where Blackburn recalls the events that led to the discovery of telomerase.
Related Resources for this Video
- Elizabeth Blackburn iBioEducation Discovery Talk: Discovery of Telomeric DNA and Telomerase
- Research Paper Discussed in this Talk: Greider, CW, EH Blackburn. 1985. Identification of a specific telomere terminal transferase activity in Tetrahymena extracts. Cell 43:405-413.
About Youreka Science
Youreka Science was created by Florie Charles, a cancer researcher at UCSF. While teaching 5th graders about the structure of a cell, Charles realized the importance of incorporating scientific findings into classroom in an easy-to-understand way. From that she started creating whiteboard drawings that explained recent papers in the scientific literature to the general public. Charles has created over twenty videos about the latest scientific experiments and is now joined by Alex Olson to produce more fun and engaging videos. Learn more at http://yourekascience.org/.
- Youreka Science: The Most Beautiful Experiment in Biology
- Elizabeth Blackburn iBioSeminar: Telomeres and Telomerase
- Bruce Alberts iBioEducation Lecture: DNA Replication
- Titia de Lange iBioSeminar: Telomeres and Human Disease
- Youreka Science: The cell's radar: how cells sense their environment