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Targeting Telomeres and Telomerase: Studies in Aging and Disease Utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 Technology

  • Brane, Andrew C.
  • Tollefsbol, Trygve O.
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2019
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Telomeres and telomerase provide a unique and important avenue of study in improving both life expectancy and quality of life due to their close association with aging and disease. While major advances in our understanding of these two biological mediators have characterized the last two decades, previous studies have been limited by the inability to affect change in real time within living cells. The last three years, however, have witnessed a huge step forward to overcome this limitation. The advent of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas) system has led to a wide array of targeted genetic studies that are already being employed to modify telomeres and telomerase, as well as the genes that affect them. In this review, we analyze studies utilizing the technology to target and modify telomeres, telomerase, and their closely associated genes. We also discuss how these studies can provide insight into the biology and mechanisms that underlie aging, cancer, and other diseases.

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