Secret to long life not in genes: Study

The secret to a long life does not lie in genes, according to a new study that sequenced the genomes of the world's oldest living people.

PTI| Updated: Nov 13, 2014, 18:07 PM IST

Washington: The secret to a long life does not lie in genes, according to a new study that sequenced the genomes of the world's oldest living people.

There are 74 verified living super-centenarians, or those who have lived to be 110 years or older, in the world.

Researchers from the Stanford University and colleagues performed whole-genome sequencing on 17 super-centenarians to explore the genetic basis underlying extreme human longevity.

They found "no significant evidence of enrichment for a single rare protein-altering variant or for a gene harbouring different rare protein altering variants" in super-centenarian compared to control genomes.

"Our analyses show that it is extremely unlikely that there is a single gene harbouring rare protein-altering variants shared by all super-centenarians but no controls," the researchers said.

"It is not surprising that a highly complex trait such as longevity is not explained by a single gene," said researchers.

The researchers, however, were surprised to find that one of the super-centenarian carried a variant associated with a heart condition, which had little or no effect on the super-centenarian's health, as this person lived over 110 years.

The whole-genome sequences of all 17 super-centenarians can be used to assist the discovery of the genetic basis of extreme longevity in future studies, the researchers said.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.