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Telomere length accurately predicts the chronological age of the common carp


Telomeres, the caps of all eukaryotic chromosomes, function to protect chromosomes from DNA degradation. Recently, telomeres and more specifically, changes in telomere lengths over time have received interest as a novel means of determining the ages of animals. We suggest that telomeres may provide a non-lethal means of determining the ages of fish. Using the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) as a model species, we demonstrate the utility of telomeres as an age determinate of wild caught fish. We also assess the influence of sex, maturity and geographic location to measurements of telomere length and summarise the application of telomeres to fisheries science.