JUL 31, 2017 03:34 PM PDT

Scientists Find Genetic Markers of Lifespan

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have been trying to find out how to link genetic information and improved health. Now, scientists at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) have reported 16 new genetic markers that impact lifespan in humans.

These markers are SNPs, changes in individual base pairs in our genetic material, single-nucleotide polymorphisms. This work, reported in Nature Communications, utilized data from 116,279 people, with 2.3 million human SNPs analyzed. Of the 16 lifespan-associated SNPs, 14 are novel. Most of these SNPs affected lifespan because they influenced a disease or major risk factor. This work has also determined that three genes near these SNPs might act as longevity biomarkers.

"Interestingly, the gene expression impact of some of these SNPs in humans is analogous to the consequence of a low-calorie diet in mice, which is known to have positive effects on lifespan," commented SIB Group Leader Marc Robinson-Rechavi, a Professor at the University of Lausanne.
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