Telomerase (te-LAW-mer-ace) reverse transcriptase (abbreviated to TERT, or hTERT in humans) is a catalytic subunit of the enzyme telomerase, which, together with the telomerase RNA component (TERC), comprises the most important unit of the telomerase complex.
Since before recorded history began, people have been searching for ways to live longer. We all know the story of Ponce de León’s search for the elusive Fountain of Youth, but even two millennia earlier, Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China was sending out ships full of hundreds of men and women in search of an elixir of life that would make him immortal. The desire to live forever is as old as humanity itself.
The reason these cells are immortal is that our reproductive cells produce an enzyme called telomerase. Telomerase acts like an assembly line inside our cells that adds nucleotides to the ends of our chromosomes, thus lengthening our telomeres.
How close is it? Read on to find out how the hTERT code works.