A very special Thanksgiving to one and all!

By Razib Khan | November 21, 2012 7:40 pm
  • fred

    Hi. I’ve never commented on your blog that I recall. But I skim it every now and then. I was wondering if you could help me with an off topic question on genetics. I’ve read that telemeres get shorter with time and that’s one of the reasons we age. I’ve also read that last month, researcher Mitinori Saitou and his team from Kyoto University in Japan used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are adult cells reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state to produce healthy eggs. So my question is: If they reprogrammed adult cells wouldn’t the reprogrammed cells have shorter telemeres, too? It seems to me that would be a problem because any child produced with that egg would be born with “old” cells. Can you shed some light on this please?

    Thank you

  • https://plus.google.com/109962494182694679780/posts Razib Khan
  • Little bit

    My father went AWOL when I was around 4, never looked back. I hated this song for so many years and would turn it off immediately when it came on. All I could think of when I heard it was that my father didn’t think I was lovely (or lovable). I really took it to heart.

    Fast forward to 2005, weeks after the birth of my daughter. There was a heat wave and I was afraid to take her out so we stayed inside with the curtains drawn and the air on. With not much to do, I would sit in the front room watching her sleep with the radio quietly playing, marveling at my perfect, beautiful daughter. And this song came on. I reached up to change the channel but I stopped.

    I listened to “Isn’t She Lovely” all the way through for the first time that day.

    Isn’t she lovely
    Isn’t she wonderful
    Isn’t she precious

    Yes, she is. She still is and I am thankful. Thanks for reminding me. =)

  • fred

    Thank you. That’s an interesting article for me since both my father and grandfather were older when they had children. But I’m not sure whether that answers my specific question.

    This article discusses my concern that…

    “Reversion of cells to hiPSC status in many cases results in cells that do not express telomerase and have short telomeres. They are very different in these respects from hESCs. Such cells may be approaching senescence despite their pluripotency, cannot reliably be depended on for such tasks as organ renewal, and cannot be used to close the loop in the stem cell supply chain.”


    I’ve read that when Dolly the sheep was cloned that she was born with older cells and shorter telomeres because the sheep the cells were taken from was already 6 years old. If reprogramming a cell to pluripotency isn’t the same as restoring a cells youthfulness then it will cause problems for creating new organs for transplant. And it wouldn’t address the issue of Dolly being born with older cells. It would also be problematic for Saitou’s technique using reprogrammed pluripotent cells to make eggs. Assuming, of course, that the cellular age of any offspring is dependent on the haploid gametes provided by BOTH parents and not just the father. Any thoughts?


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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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