An good introductory article on telomeres showed up this week at SAGE Crossroads. "For a long time scientists believed [that] the length of our lives was meted out in our telomeres - the protective caps at the ends of the threadlike chromosomes that carry our genes. But life is never as simple as legend, and most researchers have abandoned the telomere theory of aging. They haven't given up on telomeres, though. Scientists are now testing whether degradation of these termini heralds the maladies associated with growing old, such as heart disease, dementia, and cancer. Understanding the association between telomeres and disease could lead to better treatments for cancer or new ways to stay healthy as we mature."