Medical Definition of Telomere

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Telomere: The end of a chromosome. The ends of chromosomes are specialized structures that are involved in the replication and stability of DNA molecules. A telomere is a length of DNA that is made up of a repeating sequence of six nucleotide bases (TTAGGG). Small numbers of these terminal TTAGGG sequences are lost from the tips of the chromosomes, but the addition of TTAGGG repeats by the enzyme telomerase compensates for this loss.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018