Variants of a gene thought to be linked to longevity appear to influence aging into the 90s, but do not appear to affect exceptional longevity, or aging over 100, a study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health and School of Medicine researchers has found.
The research challenges previous findings that indicated some variants of the gene, FOXO3, played a role in exceptional longevity, the research team said in a study in the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.
The researchers examined genetic data from blood samples of 2,072 extremely old subjects from four centenarian studies: The New England Centenarian Study; the Southern Italian Centenarian Study; the Longevity Genes Project at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and the National Institutes on Aging-Funded Long Life Family Study. Researchers conducting centenarian studies such as these are working together to discover the biological mechanisms that enable remarkable aging.
The researchers who published the paper found that while FOXO3 did seem to play a role in longevity to a degree, that role did not generally affect living to ages 96 or older for men, or 100 for women — the oldest 1 percent of the population.
The new findings likely will prompt new areas of research, as scientists continue to look for answers about genetic components of longevity and exceptional longevity.