TZAP or not to zap telomeres

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Science  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6325, pp. 578-579
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7015

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Telomeres play vital roles in genome stability, protecting chromosome ends from degradation and rearrangements. Telomere erosion with aging occurs in most human somatic cells. This limits cellular life span and suppresses uncontrolled proliferation of premalignant cells. On the other hand, short telomeres may prevent continued tissue renewal and contribute to organismal aging. Therefore, maintaining an optimal telomere length is crucial for long-term survival. On page 638 of this issue, Li et al. (1) report that a protein present at long telomeres triggers trimming at these chromosome ends, maintaining telomere length homeostasis.