Relatives can drive you crazy, but you'd better hope they enjoy long lives. If your family members live long, the chances improve that you will too (SN: 3/10/01, p. 156: Making Sense of Centenarians).
This observation prompted a research team to study the DNA of 137 families with at least two siblings over the age of 91. A region of chromosome 4 harbors a gene that helps people achieve exceptional longevity, the scientists conclude in the Aug. 28 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"There are 100 to 500 genes [in the region], so we now have to home in on the one or two causing the effect," says Thomas Perls of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.