| GEO Health|
| Gene pattern predicts longevity|
| Updated at: 0859 PST, Saturday, July 03, 2010|
BEIJING: Researchers have found a pattern of genes that predicts more accurately who might live a longer life, according to Friday's issue of the journal Science.
Researchers led by Paola Sebastiani and Dr. Thomas Perls at Boston University say that they have identified a set of genetic variants that predicts extreme longevity with 77 percent accuracy.
They studied more than 1,000 people who lived to be 100 or more and matched them to 1,200 other people to identify the genetic patterns more common in the 100-year-olds, using an approach called a genome-wide association study, according to reports.
The research indicates clearly for the first time that there are specific genetic variations that can endow a person with an unusually long life.
"Exceptional longevity is not this vacuous entity that no one can figure out," said Thomas Perls. "We've made quite some inroads here in terms of demonstrating a pretty important genetic component to this wonderful trait."
The Boston researchers said they do not plan to market a test for the long-life genes and are working to design a free website where people who have had their DNA sequenced can check and see if they have any of them.
Perls said he does not see the findings leading to youth elixirs, but hopes they may be used to help delay the start of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's.