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Extreme Longevity

November 1, 2010

Researchers have identified some genetic similarities in people who live for over 100 years.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
The genetics of extreme longevity‚ĶI’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists have long puzzled over why a small minority of people live for 100 years or more. Pinpointing specific genes for longevity has proven difficult. Instead, Dr. Tom Perls of Boston University and his colleagues probed the entire human genetic code. They identified just 150 genetic variations that can accurately predict who is a centenarian.

TOM PERLS (Boston University):
These clustered, so that there were about 19 clusters, or what we call “genetic signatures” for these longevity-associated variants.

HIRSHON:
Most of the centenarians in the study had a subset of these genetic signatures.

TOM PERLS (Boston University):
Other signatures were typified by age of onset for a particular age-related disease.

HIRSHON:
In future, the researchers hope to tease out whether exceptionally long-lived people lack some of these disease-related variants. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.