Scientists studying the genomes of centenarians in New England say they have identified a set of genetic variants that predicts extreme longevity with 77 percent accuracy. The centenarians had just as many disease-associated variants as shorter-lived mortals, so their special inheritance must be genes that protect against disease, said the authors of the study, a team led by Paola Sebastiani and Thomas T. Perls of Boston University. Their report appears in ThursdayÛªs issue of Science.
This NY Times article can tell you more.
There may be something to this. Take my mother (please)(old joke). Anyway, she smokes like a chimney, has some breathing issues because of it, has had some cardiac issues but at 89 other than breast cancer in her 60s and a fall a couple of years ago, she really does not have major issues. Despite her poor health habits, she keeps chugging along. Interestingly enough I had a full metabolic study a few years back and they found lots of little things floating around my blood stream that probably should be causing me more problems than they are. They concluded that I had an incredible immune system. I attributed it to genetics and immediately thought of my mother.
Being pre-disposed to live longer is somewhat dis-heartening in a way because there are so many of us that fight every day to keep ourselves in shape. When you read a study like this you kind of shrug and wonder what all your hard work is accomplishing. That said don’t stop because it certainly is adding years to your life. Genetics may just be choosing how many years that upper limit could be!