1938 – telomeres

In 1938 Hermann Muller coined the word, “telomere” (from the greek roots of tel and mere) to describe small end caps on the chromosomes of fruit flies. Two years later, Barbara McClintock, working independently on genetic research with maize, discovered that without the end caps, chromosomes can become stuck together, causing damage.

It is now known that the telomere cap region of DNA is depleted during replication and creates a cellular aging limit. The enzyme, telomerase extends the ability of telomeres to duplicate and is involved with the long life conditions of cancer cells.

1822 – Mendel
1912 – Carrel experiment on cellular aging

1961 – Hayflick limit discovered
1973 – Olovnikov predicted telomere shortening
1978 – Blackburn and Gall describe and isolate telomeres
1984 – Greider and Blackburn purified the enzyme telomerase
1990 – Harley and Greider showed that telomeres shorten progressively

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