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KUSA - Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say telomeres may predict our ability to fight off the common cold.

Telomeres are protective caps made of DNA proteins found on the ends of our cells' chromosomes.

A new study shows that the length of telomeres may predict risk for the common cold.

"If the DNA is your shoestring, the telomeres is the tip of your shoestring," 9NEWS Medical Expert Dr. John Torres said. "It's the end parts of the DNA that we didn't used to think much about, but now we're finding out that they actually have a lot of impact. The shorter they are in people the more likely they are to get colds."

If you seem to get colds more often than most people, just recognize that and be more careful. Try to boost your immune system through exercise and eating healthy foods. The research was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.