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'Long-life' genes found in 100-year-old humans

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    Long-life genes found in 100-year-old humans * 22:00 03 March 2008 * NewScientist.com news service * Andy Coghlan It s not quite the elixir of life, but
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2008

      'Long-life' genes found in 100-year-old humans

          * 22:00 03 March 2008
          * NewScientist.com news service
          * Andy Coghlan


      It's not quite the elixir of life, but researchers have at last identified gene variants that make people live longer. Men may miss out, as all carriers identified so far are women. They are also slightly shorter than average.

      "We are moving closer to understanding why some people live longer," says Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, US, head of the team that identified the two gene mutations in centenarians of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

      Both mutations affect the receptor for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), a driver of bodily growth and maturity, especially during puberty. By making the receptor slightly faulty, the mutations may disrupt IGF1 binding and decelerate the process of maturation and ageing.
      Worldwide search

      In support, they found circulating levels of IGF1 to be 37% higher in carriers of the mutation, probably to compensate for the underperforming receptor. Carriers were also 2.5 centimetres shorter on average than the general population.

      "This milestone result will no doubt stimulate a worldwide search for IGF1 mutations in other centenarian populations," says Martin Holzenberger, a longevity researcher at Inserm in St Antoine, France.

      Similar mutations affect longevity in worms, flies, yeast and mice.

      Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0705467105)

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