Recent advances in human gene-longevity association studies.
This paper reviews the recent literature on genes and longevity. The influence of genes on human life span has been confirmed in studies of life span correlation between related individuals based on family and twin data. Results from major twin studies indicate that approximately 25% of the variation in life span is genetically determined. Taking advantage of recent developments in molecular biology, researchers are now searching for candidate genes that might have an influence on life span. The data on unrelated individuals emerging from an ever-increasing number of centenarian studies makes this possible. This paper summarizes the rich literature dealing with the various aspects of the influence of genes on individual survival. Common phenomena affecting the development of disease and longevity are discussed. The major methodological difficulty one is confronted with when studying the epidemiology of longevity involves the complexity of the phenomenon, which arises from the polygenic nature of life span and historical mortality change. We discuss this issue and suggest new methodological approaches.
De Benedictis, G; Tan, Q; Jeune, B; Christensen, K; Ukraintseva, SV; Bonafè, M; Franceschi, C; Vaupel, JW; Yashin, AI
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