For most centenarians, longevity is written in the DNA | Science News

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For most centenarians, longevity is written in the DNA

Study reveals many genetic paths to 100

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6:05pm, July 1, 2010

Juan Ponce de León never found his Fountain of Youth, but researchers may have discovered a genetic equivalent hidden in the DNA of centenarians.

Only one in 6,000 people reaches the century mark and just one in 7 million lives to be a supercentenarian — someone who is 110 or older. But a new study, published online July 1 in Science, suggests that more people may have the right genetic stuff for extreme longevity.

In the new study, researchers looked at genetic markers called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, in 1,055 centenarians and 1,267 younger people, all of European descent. The scientists found 150 genetic SNP variants linked to extreme longevity.

Initially, the team identified only 33 SNPs found more often in people aged 90 to 114 years but not in a control group made up of people who will presumably live an average lifespan. But, says Thomas Perls, a geriatrician at Boston University School of Medicine who coauthored

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