Thursday, January 14, 2016

Starfish telomeres on a radio interview

by Alex Garcia

The starfish Coscinasterias tenuispina has the ability to reproduce sexually and asexually by fission, and many populations are even maintained by only asexual reproduction. One of our issues was to investigate if asexual populations can be maintained indefinitely. Our findings revealed that the starfish elongates their telomeres after fission, regenerating their DNA. Telomeres are repetitive sequences at the caps of chromosomes and are correlated with the age of individuals, therefore, in some point of view; the starfish have a mechanism to rejuvenate themselves.

Different media has been interested in this finding after its publication in Heredity. Among them, the radio program “Al otro lado del espejo” in which I participated last week.