A method for measuring the distribution of the shortest telomeres in cells and tissues

Tsung Po Lai, Ning Zhang, Jungsik Noh, Ilgen Mender, Enzo Tedone, Ejun Huang, Woodring E. Wright, Gaudenz Danuser, Jerry W. Shay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Improved methods to measure the shortest (not just average) telomere lengths (TLs) are needed. We developed Telomere Shortest Length Assay (TeSLA), a technique that detects telomeres from all chromosome ends from <1 kb to 18 kb using small amounts of input DNA. TeSLA improves the specificity and efficiency of TL measurements that is facilitated by user friendly image-processing software to automatically detect and annotate band sizes, calculate average TL, as well as the percent of the shortest telomeres. Compared with other TL measurement methods, TeSLA provides more information about the shortest telomeres. The length of telomeres was measured longitudinally in peripheral blood mononuclear cells during human aging, in tissues during colon cancer progression, in telomere-related diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, as well as in mice and other organisms. The results indicate that TeSLA is a robust method that provides a better understanding of the shortest length of telomeres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1356
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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