Australian and Swedish researchers have found that telomeres, typically associated with ageing in humans, are affected by stress from attack and lead to a shorted lifespan for the tiny Swedish reptile.
Telomeres are sequences of non-coding DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes and contribute to their stability and the genomic integrity of cells.
They have been likened to the tips at the end of the shoelace that stops the shoelace from fraying.
In humans, “fraying” or shortening of telomeres can be increased by “factors leading to genetic erosion,” says lead author Professor Mats Olsson, of the University of Wollongong.
Such factors can include free radicals and other forms of stress.
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