Telomere length measurement has been proposed as a promising tool to estimate the age of individuals in natural populations. We used real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) to measure relative telomere length in four tissues (brain, kidney, liver and muscle) of European hake (Merluccius merluccius) in different groups based upon body length an otolith age estimate.
We observed a high level of inter-individual differences in the measurements of relative telomere length in hakes of similar age and body length groups. The results of qPCR analysis showed a great variability in all measures and a lack of repeatability and reproducibility with significant statistical differences in the results of the different assays. The paper discusses the technical reasons for the variability in qPCR obtained in this work and by other authors.