Centenarian DNA May Be Key To Longevity
Centenarian DNA will be mapped in the course of a project announced this week that will attempt to figure out why certain people live to 100.
“We need 10,000 genomes, not 100, to start to understand the link between genetics, disease and wellness,” genome pioneer Craig Venter, who co-chairs the project, told The Associated Press, saying this is just the beginning.
Geriatrics expert Thomas Perls of Boston University is helping Venter find centenarians for the Archon Genomics X Prize. They will award $10 million to whichever researchers map the complete DNA code from 100 people older than 100. Accuracy, completeness, speed and cost will be factored into the final decision.
“It's very hard to get there without some genetic advantages,” Perls said of centenarians.
Genome sequencing will investigate those advantages, which, according to the AP, may include genetic features that protect against many diseases or that actually slow the process of aging.
Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York says it isn't just eating right and exercise. His centenarian study found that “as a group, they haven't done the right things.” Some in the group were overweight, and one of Barzilai's patients, who lived until 110, smoked for 95 years.
“She had genes that protected her against the environment,” Barzilai said.