London: Scientists have found that a gene that protects telomeres - the ends of chromosomes - also plays a key role in obesity.Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) are the first to identify a link between telomeres that shorten with ageing and obesity."We still don`t know what evolutionary significance to attach to it, but it is at the very least interesting that a telomere gene is related to obesity," said Maria Blasco, CNIO director and co-author of the study.RAP1 gene forms part of the shelterin complex, a group of proteins that make up the protective hood of telomeres - the DNA sequence at the ends of chromosomes that shortens with each cellular division and thus measures the ageing of the organism.There are six shelterins, and CNIO`s Telomeres & Telomerase Group, which studies them in-depth, has discovered that RAP1, contrary to the rest, is not essential for the survival of the organism; but that does not mean RAP1 is not important.
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