Data From the Genetics of Healthy Ageing Project

Research into genetic contributions to longevity rolls onwards. APOE remains one of the few genes with variants associated with longevity in many populations. For the rest, it is expected that there are many different contributing variations, different by population, and each only causing a small change in life expectancy. It is still the case that genes are not as important as good lifestyle choices, and neither of those are anywhere near as important as progress in medical technology when it comes to the prospects for living a long life.

Here are the results from a recent study that again point to APOE. You might also look at an introduction to gene locations for an overview of how researchers label locations in a chromosome such as 17q12-q22:

Clear evidence exists for heritability of human longevity, and much interest is focused on identifying genes associated with longer lives. To identify such longevity alleles, we performed the largest genome-wide linkage scan thus far reported. Linkage analyses included 2118 nonagenarian Caucasian sibling pairs that have been enrolled in fifteen study centers of eleven European countries as part of the Genetics of Healthy Ageing (GEHA) project.

In the joint linkage analyses we observed four regions that show linkage with longevity; chromosome 14q11.2, chromosome 17q12-q22, chromosome 19p13.3-p13.11 and chromosome 19q13.11-q13.32. To fine map these regions linked to longevity, we performed association analysis using [genome-wide association study] data in a subgroup of 1,228 unrelated nonagenarian and 1,907 geographically matched controls. [By] combined modeling of linkage and association we showed that association of longevity with APOEε4 and APOEε2 alleles explain the linkage at 19q13.11-q13.32.

In the largest linkage scan thus far performed for human familial longevity, we confirm that the APOE locus is a longevity gene and that additional longevity loci may be identified at 14q11.2, 17q12-q22 and 19p13.3-p13.11. Since the latter linkage results are not explained by common variants, we suggest that rare variants play an important role in human familial longevity.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23286790

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