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Longevity

Scientists Identify the Methuselah Gene

18 years, 4 months ago

4850  0
Posted on Dec 28, 2002, 12 a.m. By Bill Freeman

A team of Icelandic researchers say that they have identified the so-called Methuselah gene - the gene responsible for a long and healthy life. The researchers located the gene after comparing the records of 1,200 people who lived for 90 years or longer with that of a similar number of people with average lifespans.

A team of Icelandic researchers say that they have identified the so-called Methuselah gene - the gene responsible for a long and healthy life. The researchers located the gene after comparing the records of 1,200 people who lived for 90 years or longer with that of a similar number of people with average lifespans. Results showed that those who lived longest were more closely related than those who lived for an average lifetime, and that a single gene appeared to be responsible for protecting the nonagenarians from the ravages of old age. Kari Stefansson, the Chief Executive of DeCode Genetics, the company behind the discovery, believes that the discovery will help scientists to develop life-lengthening drugs, saying: "There is no reason why we cannot do this. We know the location of this gene. Soon we will study its exact DNA sequence and work out how it works in the body. You can then think of making drugs that could replicate its action."

The discovery follows that of a group of Harvard researchers who found that 100% of the centenarians they studied had Methuselah-type genes, which appeared to protect them from age-related conditions such as cancer, dementia and heart disease. Many had also inherited a gene dubbed the longevity gene. The researchers also found that the children of centenarians were likely to live 10-15 years longer than the norm, and their siblings were four times more likely than average to live to see their 90th birthday.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by The Scotsman (www.thescotsman.co.uk) on the 4th February 2002

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