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[tuh-lom-uh-reys, ‐reyz] /təˈlɒm əˌreɪs, ‐ˌreɪz/
an enzyme, active chiefly in tumors and reproductive cells, that causes telomeres to lengthen: facilitates cell division and may account for the immortality of cancer cells.
Origin of telomerase
telomere + -ase Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for telomerase
  • These produce an enzyme called telomerase that repairs telomeres after cell division.
  • The reprogramming process activated the telomerase enzyme, which is responsible for maintaining telomeres.
  • When the virus is injected into an animal, the gene becomes active in cells that express telomerase.
  • The unsettling flip side is that telomerase-boosting treatments aimed at slowing aging might also increase the risk of cancer.
  • They found that telomerase activation started glycolysis in cancer cells.
  • Although telomeres usually shorten with age, they can lengthen through the action of an enzyme called telomerase.
British Dictionary definitions for telomerase


an enzyme that is involved in the formation and repair of telomeres, so that chromosomes are not shortened during cell division
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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telomerase in Science
  (tə-lŏm'ə-rās', -rāz')   
An enzyme that preserves the length of telomeres across cell divisions in germ cells, stem cells, and most cancer cells. A kind of reverse transcriptase, telomerase is an RNA-containing enzyme that synthesizes the DNA of telomeres by reverse transcription. It is active during DNA replication and is thought to play a role in the proliferation and apparent immortality of cells in which it is present. In cells that lack telomerase (that is, in most somatic cells of the body), the telomeres of chromosomes shorten and eventually disappear over repeated cell divisions. The inhibition of telomerase is being investigated as a method of killing cancerous cells. See more at telomere.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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