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An Austrian biologist theorized that the erosion of telomeres, highly repetitive DNA at the end of chromosomes, might function as a kind of internal clock that determines when a species will become extinct. Once a species’ telomeres have sufficiently degenerated, the theory holds, individuals will begin to suffer an increase in cancers and immune disorders. Human telomeres, it was noted, are somewhat short.

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An Austrian biologist theorized that the erosion of telomeres, highly repetitive DNA at the end of chromosomes, might function as a kind of internal clock that determines when a species will become extinct. Once a species’ telomeres have sufficiently degenerated, the theory holds, individuals will begin to suffer an increase in cancers and immune disorders. Human telomeres, it was noted, are somewhat short.

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