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Longer Telomeres Tied to Parents Age At Child’s Birth-From the Archives

A friend brought to my attention this interesting article from the Economist about longer telomeres, in daughters, and the strange fact that older parent’s seem to pass along longer telomeres.

Check out the article from The Economist on this.

Sleeper is the Opening Chapter of Targeting the Telomeres, Book Two

Finally, a sneak preview of the opening chapters of Targeting the Telomeres, A Thiller (Book Two-Amanda’s Telomeres series) are unveiled.

Spoiler Alert:  Don’t read further if you have not read Taming the Telomeres, a #1 Amazon Best Seller.

The first chapter of Book Two is set out below:



Amanda Michaels, a teenager with genetically altered telomeres, was the sole survivor of a jet crash. After a new tragedy befalls her family, she decides vigilante justice is her only option.

‘Sleeper’ the opening chapter of Targeting the Telomeres, is a prologue, a foreshadowing of events deep inside the novel.  Click the image below to read author insights and the opening chapter on the author’s portal at or just scroll down further.


The first chapter of Targeting the Telomeres, Sleeper, along with author comments are posted on by author R.N. Shapiro.


What kind of scum-sucking cockroaches kidnap a defenseless baby, Amanda Michaels thinks while trying to fall asleep.  She will make them regret that decision.

Lying on the cramped, lower bunk of the sleeper car, she feels with her fingertips along the thin foam-rubber pad masquerading as a mattress.  There it is.  She tugs on the lower portion of her backpack hiding the loaded pistol with the customized silencer, nestling what constitutes all her belongings in the crook of her right arm.  The sheath strapped under the left pant leg of her jeans secures a long KA-Bar serrated edge fixed blade knife.  And in the right pocket of her hoodie are two identical burner cell phones.  One is her only means of communication with her compatriot, who is also on the train, both of them full-in with their improbable mission.  Imagining the linen scent of her favorite candle briefly tricks her olfactory glands into ignoring the foul odors.  The elderly Chinese lady on the bunk overhead smells of mildewing clothes.  On the lower bunk an arm’s length away, a twenty-something Chinese girl sleeps with her jacket over her head.  The sleeper car’s other occupant, a tiny woman who barely stands five-foot tall and can’t weigh 100 pounds, presses her torso against the tiny sink, paper towels surrounding the collar of her shirt, while she works some type of soapy liquid through her dark brown shoulder-length hair. Amanda decides to pass on that shower.

She thinks, all I wanted was to get some of my memory back from before the crash.  Not this.

If she’s captured, what could Chinese intelligence agents possibly “get” out of her anyhow?  Sure, she survived the Hemispheres plane crash, but she doesn’t know how or why. Only that it might have had something to do with her dad’s research and her being his test subject. To study her telomeres, maybe that’s what they would want? Most likely to torture her to learn whatever she knows.

The bullet train hurtling northbound towards Beijing at 180 miles per hour suddenly lurches, causing a metallic screech that soon fades.

Amanda thinks for a moment about a family photo.  Of her dad, her, and her mom, sitting on the front porch of the house they lived in before the crash.  The one she hopes to recall, that her Uncle Andy showed her.  She mentally photoshops her baby brother Justin in too.  Nothing can stop fantasies no one else can see.

The sink-showering lady climbs back up to her top bunk, and talks in Chinese with the other older lady.

If my plan fails, I won’t have to worry anymore, Amanda decides.  Because I’ll be dead.



Taming the Telomeres Awarded Two Silver Medals in FAPA President’s 2016 Book Awards


On Saturday night, August 5, 2016 the Florida Authors & Publishers Association (FAPA) presented its prestigious annual President’s Awards for the best books of 2015 and the first half of 2016 by authors and publishers in Florida and throughout the United States, and Taming the Telomeres, A Thriller was awarded two separate 2016 book award silver medals.  The event, which took place at the Hilton Orlando/Lake Buena Vista Resort, recognized outstanding books by awarding gold, silver, or bronze medals.

“The 2016 award winners exemplify excellence in publishing both regionally and nationally. The awards continue to command the attention of industry professionals and readers.” said Terri Gerrell, FAPA President. The winners were selected by the competition’s sixty-five judges—librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.


Taming the Telomeres wins Two 2016 FAPA Silver Medals-in Mystery & Thriller categories

In the Adult Fiction-Mystery category, Taming the Telomeres, by author R.N. Shapiro earned the Silver Medal, and in the Adult Fiction-Suspense/Thriller category, Taming the Telomeres, was also awarded the Silver Medal.

Taming the Telomeres (available on Amazon, Audible and itunes in audiobook) a #1 Amazon best selling thriller, has now earned medals in four international award competitions   The prior awards were:

2015 Gold Award Winner-fiction thriller-Readers Favorite Int’l book award contest.

Apple Literary Book Awards, 2015 Medalist for E-book mystery thriller.

Silver Medalist-2016 eLit Book Awards, for mystery/suspense/thriller category.

The novel introduces high schooler Amanda Michaels, the lone survivor of a commuter jet crash who possesses breakthrough biological secrets that intelligence agencies will kill over:

4 medals

The author is actively writing “Targeting the Telomeres” which is book two of the Amanda Michaels Telomeres series, and has recently added sneak previews of Targeting the Telomeres book two after the conclusion of Taming the Telomeres paperbacks and ebooks.  Previews will also be added soon to the author’s website, .

Telomere Breakthroughs Hold Key To Aging, Cancer & Human Life Extension

A powerful subplot of my award winning fiction thriller Taming the Telomeres deals with DNA telomere research and its impact on human aging, and the possible extension of human life. TTT explores tragedy that befalls Amanda Michaels, and how she discovers that secret telomere research her biological father Ron Michaels was exploring had attracted the interest of the world’s most powerful nations. Amanda hunts for answers in the midst of spying, subterfuge, and nation’s seeking economic leverage over the telomere research.

Blackburn talk

As many of you may be aware, in 2009 three scientists shared a Nobel Prize for research on our DNA telomeres and the impact of telomerase enzyme on our cells. With regard to telomere research, readers of my first novel have commented in various ways:

“There wasn’t enough science about telomeres.”

“I didn’t understand the science, that bogged me down.”

“R.N. Shapiro wasn’t even accurate about the science.”

Lot’s of conflicting feedback.  Not enough science.  Too much science.  If you had never heard of a telomere before you saw the title of my first novel, believe me you were not alone. Almost no one except geneticists or biological researchers had ever heard of one either. And when you deal with cutting edge science in a fiction thriller, it’s hard to please everyone all the time.

While it’s important to build a foundation on real science and medicine, fiction by definition may involve a leap of faith, something that might not be grounded 100% in science. Some people call that science fiction. Like getting dinosaur DNA out of petrified amber. There’s a kernel of possibility, but a leap of faith may be necessary.

Most parts of the telomere passages in my first novel was based on real science, but I will admit not all of Amanda’s special characteristics are scientifically based. And how will the telomere elixir she was transfused with impact Amanda in the future? Hmm.

I’m currently researching and writing a follow along sequel to Taming the Telomeres, with the working title “Targeting the Telomeres.” Amanda Michaels, Andy Michaels, and several other characters in the first book are involved in the sequel, which begins less than a year after the end of the first telomeres novel. Along with many new characters. Now, in the midst of writing the second telomeres/Amanda Michaels novel, there have been a number of important genetic research announcements involving telomeres and telomerase enzyme since 2009. And yes these worldwide announcements and discoveries that impact human aging have been exciting.

So what telomere discoveries have been achieved since the 2009 Nobel Prize announcement?

Cancer:  One breakthrough involves telomerase enzyme in cancer cells. Cancer cell telomeres get very short, but the abnormal, damaged cancer cells somehow escape cell death by continually making more telomerase enzyme. Medical researchers are making strides in cutting off the telomerase enzyme in breast and prostate cancer cells to make them die rather than continually reproducing and causing the spread of abnormal cancer tumor cells. But one resultant problem with blocking telomerase enzyme production is that the same elimination can impair fertility, wound healing and production of blood and immune system cells.

Telo blog

Shorter Telomeres=Shorter Lives: In other studies, scientists have shown that shorter telomeres are associated with shorter human lives. In persons over 60, shorter telomeres meant they were three times more likely to die from heart and other infectious diseases than persons with longer telomeres. Even people with longer telomeres after age 60 still experience telomere shortening as they age but noted geneticist Richard Cawthon believes that 10 to 30 years could be added to human life by lengthening our telomeres. Dr. Cawthon says that if all processes of aging could be eliminated and oxidative stress damage could be repaired, one estimate is that the human body could live 1000 years.

Increases in Mice Median Lifespan: By late 2010, Harvard genetic researchers showed that telomerase enzyme in mice genes reversed aging and degenerative processes in the mice. A later 2012 telomere study on laboratory mice increased their median lifespans between 13% and 24% with telomere manipulation. And a genetic study just announced during 2016 from Spain showed that embryonic stem cells with hyper-long telomeres can give rise to organisms (here, mice) with longer telomeres that remain young at the molecular level far longer. Meaning that the longer telomere in stem cells can divide and divide, and the mouse’s cell telomeres become longer. The Spanish scientists are now researching the natural additional question: can they show extension of mice median lifespan based on the hyper-long telomeres?

Human Lifespan Extension: Are scientists inching closer to effectively providing the fountain of youth for our human cells? Perhaps. How many years will it take to roll out medications that will materially extend human life expectancy? No one can yet say.


Back to my second novel, Targeting the Telomeres, which is still a work in progress. On the telomere front, USA biological researchers will address how to effectively use and deliver telomerase enzyme to lengthen the telomeres in human cells, in more than one way. Powerful competing international “interests” will engage in efforts to gain access to this classified biological genetic research, but in the midst of this, the Michaels family suffers a new family crisis. That’s as far as I can go at this time, but rest assured that much of the telomere science in the second novel will have a solid foundation in recent telomere discoveries.

True or False Fun Fact: A telomere [tel-uh-meer] is a rare monkey found only in Madagascar?


This answer is not found within a species or genus of monkey. Nor on Madagascar.   A telomere is the protective tip at the end of cell chromosomes, involved in controlling cell life. And death.  A nobel prize was awarded in 2009 for scientific strides in telomere biology: how the chromosomes can be copied in a complete way during cell divisions and how they are protected against degradation. The Nobel Laureates showed that the solution is to be found in the ends of the chromosomes – the telomeres – and in an enzyme that forms them – telomerase.  Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation.

Taming the Telomeres (TTT) is a fiction thriller that examines the vast commercial potential of telomere research to the world’s super powers.  The value of extending human life even 15% is mind boggling, and biological spying on these advances is hardly surprising.

While not about taming monkeys on Madagascar, TTT won the 2015 Gold Award for top fiction thriller in the Readers Favorite Int’l. Book contest, and was the lone medalist in the New Apple Literary Awards for ebook fiction thriller also.

Some call TTT a biological thriller, or a medical thriller.  Amanda Michaels is the lone survivor of a jet crash that killed all aboard.  Except her.  She comes to learn that she possesses biological secrets that covert agents will kill over.

Taming the Telomeres is now available on narrated by Mikael Naramore, and the ebook and paperback  versions of Taming the Telomeres are also on Amazon.


Award Winning Author MacRae Interviews Author R.N. Shapiro About Taming the Telomeres

Author R.N. Shapiro was recently interviewed by international award winning writer Marni MacRae, author of the 2015 Readers Favorite Silver award winning romance novel, Lady Sun.

Shapiro’s novel Taming the Telomeres won the fiction thriller gold award in the 2015 readers favorite international book award contest and MacRae recently read the novel and sat down with Shapiro for this author-asks-author interview. Marni MacRae posed these seven questions:


MacRae:   I could see Taming the Telomeres (TTT) on a big screen, but due to the depth and detail I think it would do better as a series.  I think the story has more to it and could be filled in to make quite a few seasons, have you considered pitching it for TV?

Author Marni MacRae interviews R.N. Shapiro about Taming the Telomeres

Author Marni MacRae interviews R.N. Shapiro about Taming the Telomeres

Shapiro:         That’s funny I haven’t thought of T.V., but I am taking steps to work on a screenplay to actually pitch TTT as a movie, I’ve really been encouraged by several of my friends and readers. But maybe I need to think about a T.V. pitch too.

Macrae:    Well, congratulations on winning the 2015 Readers Favorite Gold Award for best fiction thriller. I know you feel great about that. If the plot concerning Telomere research has real facts behind it, how likely do you think it would be that this research would be released for potential treatment of cancer or other medical benefits?

Shapiro:        There is no question that researchers all over the world are experimenting with telomerase enzymes and our chromosomal telomeres, the fact that this sort of biological research is happening worldwide is not fiction. And the impact it could have on cell life and even in the field of cancer research is also well-established. When and whether breakthroughs will occur is just a matter of time. How valuable and important a breakthrough will be is a variable that I don’t think we can forecast and that is a centerpiece of my novel. This research can be fantastically important and valuable.

Macrae:    I understand you hold a few patents yourself, what inventions are they for and what inspired you?

Shapiro:        I have 18 United States patents all in the field of folding wheel axle technology. My field is fold flat wagons, carts, and baby strollers. I was inspired to design compact convenient products that could stow in the small car trunk or in a closet. My invention design company is Pancake Wheel, meaning everything I design folds flat like a pancake.

Macrae:    Now that you can add ‘Author’ to your title along with inventor and lawyer, what field has given you the greatest reward?

Shapiro:         Unfair question. Sometimes being a trial attorney is very rewarding, I’ve had some great experiences being an inventor and designer, like entering a major license agreement on one of my inventions with a great company too.   I was stunned to win the gold award for Taming the Telomeres (TTT) but winning that recognition has really given me renewed enthusiasm for my second novel.

Macrae:    What would you say was the hardest thing about writing Taming the Telomeres?

Shapiro:         Really everything about it, because I had previously written a non-fiction book but I had no idea how much more difficult writing a fiction thriller was. Every conversation, each move your characters make, and thinking stuff through. Sticking with it once I got halfway through was probably one of the hardest things, when you are at a point that you doubt your novel will be any good. And yes there is a lot of self-doubt in writing. And then also my editor Mary and I did tedious manuscript reviews where we hacked portions out of the book before it was finally published.

Macrae:    Do you have a next book in the works?  If so, does it follow TTT or is it a stand-alone?

Shapiro:         My second novel follows TTT and picks up just a couple of months after the first novel ends. I knew before I finished the first novel that I had ideas for what would happen in the second book and I’m still working on that, and I’m featuring many of the same key characters, like Amanda, Andy Michaels, Agent Solarez, and David Owlsley, but introducing a bunch of others.

Macrae:    How similar are you and Andy Michaels, one of your protagonists, since you are a trial attorney like him? I found he was the character with the most depth.

Shapiro:         Andy Michaels is far too virtuous to be like me! But more seriously it’s a matter of getting ideas for dialogue, having experienced things in my cases either in the courtroom, or in a meeting, that I could twist, turn and fictionalize. I wanted to build a trial lawyer with a conscience, and show how things impacted him and his own family, and show the impact tragedy could have on him.

Macrae:    Do you have a favorite author who inspired you?

Shapiro:         John Grisham. First of all I do railroad injury litigation and so did he earlier in his career, I think he is so popular as an author now he doesn’t need to actually try cases anymore, even if he thought it was rewarding. In his first couple novels, he dealt with aspects of the legal system, and used real events that inspired his writing, even though they were fictionalized. His style did have a big impact on me.

MacRae: Thanks Rick, I am definitely looking forward to the next Telomeres novel myself.

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