Why do some of us live longer than others? While the environment in which we live…plays the biggest part, about 20 to 30% of the variation in human lifespan comes down to our genome.
In a new study, a team of scientists, led by [Prof. Zoltán Kutalik at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (CHUV) has uncovered]…an unparalleled number of SNPs associated with lifespan (16),…including 14 new to science.
“This is the largest set of lifespan-associated genetic markers ever uncovered,” says Kutalik.
About 1 in 10 people carry some configurations of these markers that shorten their life by over a year compared with the population average. In addition, a person inheriting a lifespan-shortening version of one of these SNPs may die up to seven months earlier.
The discovered SNPs, combined with gene expression data, allowed the researchers to identify that lower brain expression of three genes neighbouring the SNPs (RBM6, SULT1A1 and CHRNA5, involved in nicotine dependence) was causally linked to increased lifespan.
These three genes could therefore act as biomarkers of longevity, i.e. survival beyond 85-100 years.
[Read the full study here]
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