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.