Genomic sequencing finds no single gene basis for extreme longevity


Kinda wondering what they would have done if they’d found something common to all 17 but never seen before elsewhere.

Disappointing, but unsurprising. I don’t think very many people expected a single-gene basis, and a multi gene basis would need a larger sample size to identify.

Also, “to see if we could uncover the genetic basis for their extreme longevity” bothers me. It implies they assume the basis is genetic, rather than some genetic bias toward longevity + some random environmental factors like just happening not to have gotten fatally sick or having a bad fall. They should have said “a genetic basis” instead.


Earned a Nobel, most likely.

1 Like

It is, as you say, unsurprising; but the world appears to be pretty short on single-causal-gene phenomena, outside of the delightful world of unusual and nasty genetic diseases.

Not that greater knowledge of those is a bad thing; but it seems like anything you’d actually want out of a genome is crazy complex.

1 Like

Early in the introduction they lay out the evidence that there is a genetic component:

The genetic component of human lifespan based on twin studies has been
estimated to be around 20–30 percent in the normal population [7], but higher in long-lived families [8]–[10]. Furthermore, siblings, parents, and offspring of centenarians also live well beyond average [11], [12]. Lifestyle choices in terms of smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, or diet does not appear to differ between centenarians and controls [13]. Taken together, these findings provide ample evidence that extreme longevity has a genetic component.

Whereas the line you quoted is later, in the discussion. Read together, it’s less of an assumption.

I too am unsurprised at the findings. Instead of possessing variants in one or a couple genes that give them longer life, it seems more likely they lack disease alleles in many/most genes. The second line of their intro even sets up that line of thinking:

As would be expected for people that reach this age, supercentenarians have escaped many age-related diseases [2]–[5].

I can appreciate that the single-gene basis of extreme longevity needed to be ruled out (with only 13 or 17 sampled, we could argue whether they have really done that), but I doubt anyone expected to find one super gene that could trump all the other possible genetic contributions to a short life.


Serious infectious illness aside and assuming no negative genetic factors, in my limited experience of the long-lived, stubbornness (and perhaps ritual) seems to be an overwhelming factor.


I was hoping someone would post this. Guess i’m going to have to:

1 Like

Maybe it’s cigarettes?

offered it as a billion dollar upgrade.

1 Like

Ritual does keep you moving…

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.