WASHINGTON – US researchers who sequenced the genomes of the world’s oldest living people say they are unable to find a genetic recipe associated with extreme longevity, Xinhua news agency reported.
There are 74 verified living supercentenarians or those who have lived to be 110 years or older in the world including 22 in the United States.
In their study, Hinco Gierman from Stanford University and colleagues performed whole-genome sequencing on 17 supercentenarians to explore the genetic basis underlying extreme human longevity.
But they found “no significant evidence of enrichment for a single rare protein-altering variant or for a gene harbouring different rare protein altering variants” in supercentenarian compared to control genomes.
“Our analyses show that it is extremely unlikely that there is a single gene harbouring rare protein-altering variants shared by all supercentenarians but no controls,” the researchers wrote.
“It is not surprising that a highly complex trait such as longevity is not explained by a single gene.”
However, the researchers were surprised to find that one supercentenarian carries a variant associated with a heart condition which had little or no effect on the person’s health as this person lived over 110 years.
The whole-genome sequences of all 17 supercentenarians are now available online as a public resource so they can be used to assist the discovery of the genetic basis of extreme longevity in future studies.
The study was published in the open-access US journal PLOS ONE. – Bernama