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Enzyme used by eukaryotic cells to add noncoding DNA to the ends of their linear chromosomes.
The maintenance of telomeres is dependent on the production by cells of telomerase and its absence results in a limitation on the number of rounds of replication that a cell line is capable of undergoing.
The telomerase enzyme is a riboprotein, meaning that RNA is incorporated into the protein structure. The RNA serves as a template for the production of the DNA repeating sequence that constitutes the telomeres. The enzyme otherwise is a reverse transcriptase, though one that is limited in its action to employing the associated RNA template towards DNA polymerization.
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