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Katherine Leehy, Biology


Telomeres are highly regulated complexes composed of tandemly-repeated DNA sequences and associated proteins that are located the ends of linear chromosomes. Telomeres are essential for the maintenance and protection of chromosomes due to telomere shortening over successive cell divisions. Short telomeres have previously been associated with age-related disease phenotypes in many models. Telomerase is an enzyme capable of maintaining telomere length, however, it is highly suppressed in somatic cells. The CST complex is a heterotrimeric protein complex (CTC1/STN1/TEN1) that is associated with telomeres and telomerase and is conserved across all eukaryotes. The role of the CTC1 and STN1 proteins in the maintenance and protection of telomeres are well understood, but the role of TEN1 has yet to be fully characterized. This study describes the creation of a CRISPR/Cas9 construct to generate a TEN1 knockout in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Future research will reveal the role of the TEN1 protein at telomeres.