B4623 - Early years telomere dynamics - 31/05/2024

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Duncan Baird | Cardiff University (United Kingdom)
Dr Veryan Codd, Dr Susan Ring
Title of project: 
Early years telomere dynamics
Proposal summary: 

elomeres are structures at the ends of chromosomes, as cells divide, and as people age, they become progressively shorter. The length of telomeres is associated with a range of diseases including cardiovascular and cancer. People start adulthood with a broad range of telomere lengths and this length variation contributes to people’s individual risk of disease. Telomere length variation is partly genetically determined but may also be influenced by early life. We want to utilise the ALSPAC cohort to examine the dynamics of telomeres during life, by undertaking serial telomere length analysis of individuals from birth to 17 years old. We will use a method called HT-STELA that combines a low error rate with high throughput and is provided as a clinically validated diagnostic service for the NHS by TeloNostiX Ltd.

The purpose of this pilot study is to test the utility of HT-STELA in analysing genomic DNA samples from the ALSPAC cohort that have been extracted with different methodologies. By analysing a panel of serial samples, we aim to generate preliminary data that will be used in a funding application to undertake a larger study. An additional aspect of this pilot project is that the data generated will be useful to define the normal telomere length range in the younger population to improve the use of HT-STELA in clinical diagnostics.

Impact of research: 
For this pilot study the outcome will be whether it is possible to make the measurement within the larger cohort and provide preliminary data for a grant funding application. As HT-STELA is currently used by the NHS for the diagnostic work up of patients with telomere biology disorders, an additional benefit will be to refine the normal length range as defined with HT-STELA for diagnostic purposes.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 20 May, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 20 May, 2024
Epidemiology, Cancer, cardiovascular , Genomics structural variants, Ageing, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Cardiovascular, Genetics, Genomics, Telomere