Journal of Undergraduate Research


nucleotide polymorphisms, telomere shortening, deoxyribonucleic


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Telomeres are protective deoxyribonucleic acid caps on the ends of chromosomes which help prevent the chromosome itself from shortening during replication. As a person ages, normal telomere shortening occurs due to chromosome replication. However, accelerated telomere shortening is abnormal and has been linked to several factors such as disease, depression, and anxiety.

This project aims to determine if underlying genetic factors that contribute to increased incidence of depression will produce accelerated telomere shortening as seen in subjects with a history of depression. SNP’s in genes that code for 5-HTT, a serotonin receptor, and DRD2, a dopamine receptor, have been shown in previous studies to be associated with depression (Wolkowitz et al 2010). This project will look for a correlation between these specific polymorphisms and accelerated telomere shortening in a sample of young students.

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