Physical Traits

Leukocyte Telomere Length Gene - DNA Genetic Testing

Could your DNA reveal your Leukocyte Telomere Length? Upload raw DNA data to learn more about yourself and genomics science.

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Leukocyte Telomere Length and Your Genes


Leukocyte telomere length is a measure of your biological age. Upload your raw DNA data to learn your leukocyte telomere length and more about your health.

A DNA analysis that reveals a short leukocyte telomere length (LTL) may be a predictor of age-related conditions, including: 

·        Diabetes

·        Cardiovascular disease

·        Other illnesses currently being studied

·        Life span

LTLs have been of particular interest to medical researchers because they represent an “internal clock” inside our cells that could help predict our vulnerability to chronic diseases.


What is Leukocyte Telomere Length?

A leukoctyte is commonly referred to as a white blood cell.

Telomeres have been analogized to the tips of shoelaces:  they sit at the end of each strand of DNA, preventing our genes from “fraying”. LTLs are considered important biomarkers of ageing.  They represent the number of times the cell has left to replicate before it dies. 

It’s somewhat amazing to consider that LTLs are consistently the same length in each of the 30 trillion cells in our body.  What’s more, throughout our lives they all grow shorter at the same rate.  LTLs can also vary measurably from individual to individual, and this leads to the theory – with mounting evidence –  that individuals with shorter LTLs are more likely to succumb to various age-related diseases.


How is Leukocyte Telomere Length Measured?

LTLs are measured by taking a blood sample and extracting one’s DNA.  If you’re a biologist/scientist/engineer and want to jump into the weeds and learn how it’s done, this article is for you.  (Be warned:  it’s mighty wonky stuff!)

For the rest of us, the simple explanation is that the lab compares the telomeres to a “reference gene”.  LTL is calculated by the ratio of telomere length to the reference gene.  A higher proportion indicates a greater LTL length. If you obtain a DNA profile from companies like or, you can subsequently upload your DNA to Genomelink for an intensive analysis of your genetic traits.


What Can I Learn From My Leukocyte Telomere Length?

If you find out that you have short LTLs, it doesn’t mean that you’re in imminent danger.  It does mean, however, that it makes sense for you to be more vigilant about preventing illness. 

For example, the known link between LTLs and cardiovascular health means that if you have short LTLs, you’ll want to be extra-careful about adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle – and see a cardiologist regularly.  These are sensible measures to take regardless of your LTLs, but if an LTL test gives you the extra incentive to take care of yourself, that alone could make it worth it. There are a wide range of studies going on at this very moment to try to establish the links between LTLs and disease.  (If you are science-oriented, you can read about some examples here.) 

Given the lightning speed at which genetic science is moving, it’s certain that more medically-practical information about LTLs will be coming to light in the near future.   Once you are aware of your LTLs, you will be better positioned to make use of this information.  Who knows?  Maybe it’ll add years to your life.

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

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