German researchers uncover “longevity gene”

February 4th, 2009 - 12:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): German scientists have uncovered a gene linked to longevity in Europeans - a finding which suggests that individuals with the right genes can reach a ripe old age.
Kiel scientists have proved that 100-year-old Europeans carry a special sequence variation of the FOXO3A gene.
According to researchers, a variation in the gene FOXO3A has a positive effect on the life expectancy of humans, and is found much more often in people living to 100 and beyond - moreover, this appears to be true worldwide.
A research group in the Faculty of Medicine at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel (CAU) has now confirmed this assumption by comparing DNA samples taken from 388 German centenarians with those from 731 younger people.
The study has been published in the prestigious American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Last year in September, an American research team led by Bradley J. Willcox had published in PNAS a study that indicated a higher frequency of this genetic variation in long-lived Americans of Japanese origin (ages 95 and above).
Professor Almut Nebel, the scientific leader of the “Research Group for Healthy Ageing” at Kiel, comments: “That published result is only of scientific value if it can be confirmed in a study with an independently chosen sample population. Without that there must still remain a tinge of doubt.
“We have now eliminated that uncertainty about the connection between FOXO3A and longevity, both by our results from the German sample study and by the support from our French partners in Paris, whose research on French centenarians showed the same trend.
“This discovery is of particular importance as there are genetic differences between Japanese and European people. We can now conclude that this gene is probably important as a factor in longevity throughout the world.” (ANI)

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