Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: tel- or telo-

A telomere is a region of the DNA sequence at the end of a chromosome. Their function is to protect the ends of the chromosome from degradation. Here they are visible as highlights at the tips of the chromosomes. Credit: Science Picture Co/Subjects/Getty Images

Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: tel- or telo-


The prefixes (tel- and telo-) mean end, terminus, extremity, or completion. They are derived from the Greek (telos) meaning an end or goal. The prefixes (tel- and telo-) are also variants of (tele-), which means distant.

Examples: (meaning end)

Telencephalon (tel-encephalon) - the front portion of the forebrain consisting of the cerebrum and diencephalon. It is also called the end brain.

Telocentric (telo-centric) - referring to a chromosome whose centromere is located near or at the end of the chromosome.

Telogen (telo-gen) - the end phase of the hair growth cycle in which the hair stops growing. It is the resting phase of the cycle.

Teloglia (telo-glia) - accumulation of glial cells known as Schwann cells at the end of a motor nerve fiber.

Telodendron (telo-dendron) - the terminal branches of a nerve cell axon.

Telomerase (telo-mer-ase) - an enzyme in chromosome telomeres that helps preserve the length of chromosomes during cell division. This enzyme is active primarily in cancer cells and reproductive cells.

Telomere (telo-mere) - a protective cap located at the end of a chromosome.

Telopeptide (telo-peptide) - an amino acid sequence at the end of a protein that is removed upon maturation.

Telophase (telo-phase) - the final stage of the nuclear division processes of mitosis and meiosis in the cell cycle.

Telosynapsis (telo-synapsis) - end to end point of contact between pairs of homologous chromosomes during the formation of gametes.

Telotaxis (telo-taxis) - movement or orientation in response to some type of stimulus.

Examples: (meaning distant)

Telephone (tele-phone) - an instrument used to transmit sound over large distances.

Telescope (tele-scope) - an optical instrument that uses lenses to magnify distant objects for viewing.

Television (tele-vision) - an electronic broadcast system and related devices that allows images and sound to be transmitted and received over large distances.

Telodynamic (telo-dynamic) - relating to a system of using ropes and pulleys to transmit power over large distances.