Monday, October 31, 2022

Physicist's Breakthrough Discovers new Telomere Structure

Research on telomeres has become extremally important as many scientists believe telomeres are the key to living longer. Telomeres are found on the tips of chromosomes and they protect the chromosome from damage and from shortening during DNA replication. John van Noort, a physicist, studied the structure of the telomere using a physics technique called molecular force spectroscopy. In his studies he discovered a new structure of the telomere which involved a different organization of nucleosomes in which the nucleosomes are closer together creating a spiral. Through this discovery Van Noort hopes to learn more about how their genes function, how enzymes interact with them and how they repair and copy DNA. Van Noort believes these studies can lead to the development of drugs to combat diseases like cancer. 

This article was definitely my favorite article I have read this semester. Because we had just learned about the structure of telomeres and their role in DNA transcription it was interesting to learn about the current research being done on them. Another interesting idea was the fact a physics was the one who discovered this structure as it reminded me of the race to discover the structure of DNA as physics techniques were used as well. 


  1. A very cool read. Its nice that we just talked about telomeres in class and now you found new research about them. I think we have come a long way since the 1980s when Elizabeth Blackburn did her research on telomeres and her team found telomerase. I hope that this type of research continues and we can learn more about the ends of chromosomes. Where or not the research becomes used to improve longevity or battle cancer will be interesting to see but the potential seems to be there and I sure hope something comes out of it.

  2. It's cool to see that they're making progress researching telomeres. It will be interesting to see what they can do with telomeres in the future. I know that there's a lot of junk science about telomeres, but perhaps eventually they could be used modified to increase a human lifespan.