Gene variants may be linked with longevity: study

08:24, July 02, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

There may be a link between gene variants and longevity, a new study suggests.

U.S. researchers said they have grouped together a series of genetic variants that can predict with 77 percent accuracy whether or not a person will live to 100 years of age.

The researchers conducted a genome-wide association study in 1, 055 centenarians and 1,267 controls participating in the New England Centenarian Study. From this, a genetic model that included 150 single nucleotide polymorphisms, or genetic variants, was able to predict with 77 percent accuracy how long a person was going to live.

"That's very high accuracy for a genetic model, which means that the traits that we're looking at have a very strong genetic basis," said study lead author Paola Sebastiani, a professor of biostatistics at Boston University School of Public Health.

The other 23 percent could be accounted for by environmental and lifestyle factors or genetic factors that simply are unknown at this point, Perls said.

The researchers also found 19 different genetic "signatures" in 90 percent of centenarians which correlated with "different patterns of exceptional longevity," said senior study author Dr. Thomas Perls, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center.

For example, some signatures correlated with the longest survival, and others with the most delayed onset of age-related illnesses, such as dementia or cardiovascular disease.

Surprisingly, "what seems to make people live very long lives is not a lack of genetic predisposition to diseases but an enrichment of longevity-associated variants that may counter the effects of disease-associated variants," said Sebastiani.

However, having bad genes doesn't mean you don't have other good genes that would trump them as 23 percent of people who didn' t have one of these genetic signatures went on to live to 100, Perls said.

"I think a lot of study needs to be done as to what guidance physicians and health-care providers can give to individuals as to what they do with this information," Perls said. In particular, there could be implications from an insurance point of view. The study was published in the July issue of Science.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows strong wind blows trees in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. Typhoon Nesat heads towards south China and is moving at an average wind speed of 20 km per hour toward the west coast of China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
  • A fallen tree is seen on a road in Qionghai, south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 29, 2011. Typhoon Nesat was predicted to land in Hainan later Thursday, bringing heavy rainfalls to the island. (Xinhua/Meng Zhongde)
  • A man visits "Thy Word Is Truth, the Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China", during its opening at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington DC, capital of the United States, Sept. 28, 2011. Through the Bible's various Chinese versions, ancient or modern, as well as pictures, paintings, calligraphy, art works and historical documents, the exhibition was expected to give an overall understanding of how Bible was brought into China, how it was translated, published, distributed and loved. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
  • A visitor passes by in the exhibition of Istanbul design week on Sept. 28, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul design week will be hosting designers and design exhibitions from around the world in Istanbul from Sept 28 to Oct 2 with the participation of 25 countries. (Xinhua/Ma yan)
  • Red flag flies at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 28, 2011. A spokesperson with China's manned space program said Wednesday that fuel has been injected into the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket in preparation for launching the Tiangong-1 space module Thursday evening as planned. (Xinhua/Wang Jianmin)
  • A militant loyal to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) waves in a tank near Bani Walid, one of the pro-Muammar Gaddafi strongholds, on Sept. 28, 2011. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)
Hot Forum Discussion