Chromosome End Game Draws a Crowd

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Science  29 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5564, pp. 2348-2351
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5564.2348

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Telomeres, the specialized structures at the ends of the chromosomes, perform the crucial job of protecting genetic information from eroding during cell division. But telomeres are much more than mere passive chromosome caps: Researchers have linked them to both aging and cancer. Not surprisingly, these connections have attracted numerous researchers, including an unusually large number of women who have become leaders in the field. Telomeres have also enticed a slew of biotech and pharmaceutical firms eager to cash in on antiaging and anticancer drugs, some of which are moving into clinical trials (see sidebar).