An interesting piece from Medical News Today: "The early development of humans and animals, the time between conception and maturity, has an enormous influence on their lifespan. ... Zwaan [had] just been stressing how important it is for the medical world to become convinced that factors at the very start of life have an enormous influence on life expectancy. So that we can make an early start on taking appropriate, and preferably preventive, action. Don't wait until middle age! ... Early influences late. But how does it work? We're all well aware by now that pregnant women shouldn't smoke. But there are many more things we are not aware of. These are the things we want to find out more about. And more importantly: we want to understand the biology behind them. ... From time to time somebody will claim to have found the gene for longevity. The rest of the field is then silenced. And it means so little. The fact that a mutated gene may lead to longer life, does not mean that the gene contributes to variation in natural populations, including that of man." It makes for interesting reading in the context of the reliability theory of aging and longevity, which suggests we are born with an initial load of damage.