Paramecium tetraurelia cells have a limited clonal life span and die after approximately 200 fissions if they do not undergo the process of autogamy or conjugation. To test the possibility that cellular senescence of this species is caused by telomere shortening, we analyzed the genomic DNA of the macronucleus during the clonal life span of P. tetraurelia. We found that telomeric DNA sequences were not shortened during the interval of decreased fission rate and cellular death, defined as senescence in these cells. However, the mean size of the macronuclear DNA was markedly decreased during the clonal life span. We present a model that expands upon previous proposals that accumulated DNA damage causes cellular senescence in P. tetraurelia.