Living on borrowed time

An excellent new review summarizes our current knowledge about telomeres – the complicated chromosome end machinery that is necessary to prevent unwanted repair while allowing to track for the number of replications. Think of it like a source code control system as CVS, the Concurrent Version System. During a recent research project on life cycle of single point mutations / SNPs I realized that the control of the number of cell division is a necessary limiting step as each replication introduces numerous SNPs.


Replicative senescence can be viewed as a mechanism to limit the potential number of population doublings a cell can undergo, hypothetically rendering it a powerful tumour-suppressor mechanism

Manipulating telomere length will therefore not lead to a longer life but to cancer.

BTW the source of “borrowed time” is at phrases – indicating time that we borrowed from death. “We may be care-worn and aged, forsaken of the world, living on borrowed time, useless so far as any activity is concerned, dependent on children, or friends; yet Jesus has loving acquaintance with us.”

played again by Adam Green in “Friends of Mine” (one of my all time favorites)