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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU Finds New Genetic Variants Associated with Extreme Old Age

The search for the genetic determinants of extreme longevity has been challenging, with the prevalence of centenarians (people older than 100) just one per 5,000 population in developed nations.

But a recently published study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher, which combines four studies of extreme longevity, has identified new rare variants in chromosomes 4 and 7 associated with extreme survival and with reduced risks for cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease.

The results, published in the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, highlight the importance of studying “truly rare survival, to discover combinations of common and rare variants associated with extreme longevity and longer health span,” the authors said.

The research group, led by Dr. Paola Sebastiani, professor of biostatistics, created a consortium of four studies—the New England Centenarian Study, the Long Life Family Study, the Southern Italian Centenarian Study, and the Longevity Gene Project—to build a large sample of 2,070 people who survived to the oldest one percentile of survival for the 1900 birth year cohort. The researchers conducted various analyses to discover longevity-associated variants (LAVs), and to characterize those LAVs that differentiated survival to extreme age.

To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2017/04/25/new-genetic-variants-associated-with-extreme-old-age/

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