Researchers have identified 17 new genetic markers associated with a longer lifespan – increasing their numbers from the existing eight to 25.
The results, published in the journal Aging NY, confirm that many genetic variants – not one — combine to influence human lifespan.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut, University of Exeter, University of Wisconsin and University of Iowa undertook a genome-wide search for variants influencing how long participants’ parents lived.
The team studied 389,166 volunteers who took part in the U.K. Biobank, with confirmation in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study.
DNA samples carry the genetics of biological parents, which provide a practical way of studying exceptionally long lifespans.
The DNA samples from the volunteers carry the genetics of their biological parents and provide a practical way of studying exceptionally long lifespans.
The researchers found that genes involved in senescence, the ‘frozen’ state that cells enter into after being damaged, played an important role in longevity.
Genes related to inflammation and auto-immunity related genes were also prominent, opening up the possibility that precision anti-inflammatory treatments may one day be helpful in extending life.
A genetic risk score combining the top ten variants was statistically associated with parents being centenarians, the study said.