A major advantage of yeast is that one can easily generate a cell that has normal-length telomeres and completely lacks a protein essential for telomere elongation. This cell gives rise to a population of cells that lack active telomerase and whose telomeres gradually shorten until the majority of cells arrest. This shortening time course typically requires 50-70 population doublings, which provides the opportunity to generate sufficient quantities of cells for different analyses during the course of the experiment. Yeast genetics also allows one to remove telomerase from a variety of mutant backgrounds to judge the role of a gene product in the pathway to short telomere-induced senescence.
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