Copyright © 2015 The Author. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that telomere length predicts mortality and that telomeres shorten with age. Although rarely acknowledged these associations do not dictate causality. I review telomerase knockout and overexpression studies and find little support that telomeres cause aging. In addition, the causality hypothesis assumes that there is a critical telomere length at which senescence is induced. This generates the prediction that variance in telomere length decreases with age. In contrast, using meta-analysis of human data, I find no such decline. Inferring the causal involvement of telomeres in aging from current knowledge is therefore speculative and could hinder scientific progress.