Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein that can maintain telomeres, the repetitive sequences of DNA found at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes, and confer long-term proliferative capacity on cells. Telomerase expression is essential during periods of intense cell division such as the early developmental process. In later development, some species retain telomerase activity while others repress telomerase activity in what is thought to be a tumor-protective mechanism. Despite the importance of telomerase expression in both development and neoplastic disease, no studies to date have characterized its expression in bivalves. We present the first report of telomerase expression in a bivalve species, the sand scallop, Euvola ziczac. Telomerase activity was detected throughout the early stages of development and in all adult tissues examined. Analysis of DNA isolated from adult tissues indicated long telomeres, with terminal restriction fragment lengths >20 kb in both somatic and germ tissues. Ubiquitous telomerase expression throughout development and into adulthood would suggest a lack of telomere-related senescence and suggests that these scallops do not use telomerase repression as a mechanism to suppress the formation of neoplasm.

Article access 'Developmental pattern of telomerase expression in the sand scallop, Euvola ziczac'