Jessica Faul photo

The Effects of Collection Procedures on Telomere Length

a MiCDA Pilot Project Description

Investigators: Jessica Faul, Colter Mitchell

Funding: Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging, 2015-2016

Telomeres serve an important role in the protection of chromosomal DNA and the regulation of cellular senescence. Recent epidemiological research suggests that telomere length (TL) may reflect physiological stress, is associated with various age-related diseases, and may predict subsequent mortality, independent of chronological age. The way in which biological samples are collected and stored can have profound consequences on the quality of DNA available for subsequent telomere length measurement and the validity and reliability of that measure. The goal of this project is to examine the stability of salivary telomere length when stored in DNAGenotek Oragene Kits at room temperature for periods of up to 1 year. The short-term goal is to be able to make scientific-based recommendations to SRC-based studies like HRS and PSID and HRS international sister aging studies on best practices related to the collection and storage of saliva-based DNA material when telomere length is a measurement of interest. The longer-term goal is to provide possible mechanisms for adjusting already collected material if time at room-temperature is known and to provide better understanding to the role that field based biological data collection methods have on health and aging studies.

Research Signature Theme:

Aging, Genetics, and Social Science