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Putting together the pieces of the telomerase enzyme

Narrator:       This is Science Today. When a team of researchers from UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, announced that they were the first to see a complete visual map of the formerly elusive telomerase enzyme it was a huge breakthrough in science. Telomerase plays a key rule in aging and most cancers and Edward Miracco, an NIH postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, says putting it together was like a big puzzle.

Miracco:         It's basically eight pieces that have to fit together in a certain way. You can kind of think about it like when you're putting together a piece of IKEA furniture. You get it in all of these pieces laid down on the floor and you have no idea exactly how they go together, so you kind of have to finagle them and put them here and there and basically, what the electron microscopy allowed us to do was kind of get an aerial image of say, the already constructed IKEA piece of furniture. And you get one foothold and you're like, okay, well from that we can build this and we can add this and basically it's all kind of a watershed moment, it really fit together really well and it's really exciting.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.