1st Edition

Origin and Evolution of Telomeres

By Jozef Nosek, Lubomir Tomaska Copyright 2008
    194 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Linear chromosomes represent an evolutionary innovation associated with the origin of eukaryotic cells. This book describes how linear chromosomes and primordial pathways for maintaining their terminal structures, telomeres, emerged in early eukaryotes. Telomeres, derived from the Greek meaning terminal part, were first described by Hermann Muller in 1938. Telomeres are specialized structures that comprise the ends of linear chromosomes in eukaryotes. Linearity is crucial for chromosome pairing during meiosis and sexual reproduction. Inspired by Dobzhansky's dictum that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", this book brings together information about the origin and evolution of telomeres, their functions and the consequences of eukaryotic linearity which is an essential prerequisite of meiotic cell division and sexual reproduction. Selective pressure toward linearization must have been associated with the emergence of robust and redundant mechanisms for the maintenance of telomeres. These pathways comprise a molecular clock involved in cell senescence, carcinogenesis and immortalization.

    Preface 1. Telomerase: Evolution, Structure and Function 2. Drosophila Telomeres: A Variation on the Telomerase Theme 3. Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres in Mammalian Cells 4. T-Loops, T -Circles and Slippery Forks 5. Molecular Diversity of Telomeric Sequences 6. Evolution of Telomere Binding Proteins 7. Telomeres: Guardians of Genomic Integrity or Double Agents of Evolution 8. Evolution, Composition and Interrelated Functions of Telomeres and Sub telomeres: Lessons from Plants 9. Telomere Position Effect and the Evolution of the Genome 10. Cancer as a Micro evolutionary Process Affecting Telomere Structure and Dynamics: The Contribution of Telomeres to Cancer 11. Prokaryotic Telomeres: Replication Mechanisms and Evolution 12. Mitochondrial Telomeres: An Evolutionary Paradigm for the Emergence of Telomeric Structures and Their Replication Strategies


    Jozef Nosek PhD, DSc is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. His research interests include biology and evolution of telomeres, replication of linear mitochondrial genomes and function of their terminal structures, biogenesis of organelles, and morphogenesis of eukaryotic cells. Lubomir Tomaska, PhD, DSc, is an Associate Professor at the Department of Genetics, Faculty of Natural Sciences at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. He is interested in nucleo-protein structure of nuclear and mitochondrial telomeres, evolutionary pathways leading to different means of telomere maintenance, mitochondrial morphogenesis and inheritance and interplay between the compartments of eukaryotic cells.