Study finds genetic signatures of the extremely old
People who live to be 100 often credit particular dietary or lifestyle habits, religious faith or a generally positive outlook for their aging success. But scientists have long believed extreme longevity is at least partly in the genes.
Certainly long lives seem to run in families. People who have a centenarian sibling stand a better chance of also living to 100 than most people do, and twin studies suggest that genes are responsible for about 20 to 30 percent of a person’s ability to live to 85. Yet despite efforts to comb the genetic blueprints of the very, very old for versions of genes that might make a person into the next Methuselah, scientists have largely come up empty.
Now, a group of researchers has identified a set of 281 genetic variants that together distinguish people who live to be 110 or more from the rest of us with about 85 percent accuracy.
Further analysis revealed several different genetic signatures among centenarians, ind