Scientists sequenced DNA of oldest woman in hopes to unlock long life secrets

Scientists sequenced DNA of oldest woman in hopes to unlock long life secrets
Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper's 113 birthday. Image: Wikipedia.
(Medical Xpress) -- Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper became the world’s oldest person in May of 2004 at the age of 115 but dies only a few months later. But contrary to what you would expect Andel-Schipper was as sharp as a whip right up until her death.

Not only did she suffer no signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, she did not experience any other typical signs of aging one would expect to find in a person over 100, such as hardening of the arteries. She had been tested for mental sharpness back when she was 112 and 113 and, despite minor vision problems, she performed better than most 60 to 75-year-old individuals.

Now, six years after her death, a team of scientists from the VU University Medical Center, led by Dr. Henne Holstege, have sequenced Andel-Schipper’s DNA and hope to determine if there was something in her genetic makeup that protected her from the typical age-related medical conditions or if there was some outside factor that contributed.

Dr. Holstege’s father, a neuroscientist from the University of Groningen, was the first to examine Andel-Schipper’s brain immediately after her death. He was shocked to find no signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. This was the first brain over 100 years that did not show any signs of either condition.

Andel-Schipper was born prematurely and doctors did not know if she would survive. She was diagnosed, treated and survived breast cancer at the age of 100 but lost the battle with gastric cancer at 115. Her siblings lived into their 70s and her mother passed away at 100.

Preliminary studies show that there are some rare genetic changes in the DNA yet the role they may have played in protecting against age-related conditions has yet to be determined. The work was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in Canada.

Researchers believe this is the beginning step in understanding how DNA variations contribute to long life but they will need to sequence hundreds more people in order to get a full understanding. Holstege hopes by studying the of Andel-Schipper they will be able to better understand what protected her from dementia and atherosclerosis and that this will provide as a reference for studying these conditions.


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Oct 17, 2011
Less retrotransposon damage to DNA?

Oct 17, 2011
GO NETHERLANDS!

Why don't they mention it in the article?

Oct 17, 2011
I would also like to add to this article, if she did not die of cancer(probably because of failing immune system) she would have become older!

Oct 17, 2011
I would also like to add to this article, if she did not die of cancer.....

Exactly, if she hadn't died she'd still be living.

Oct 17, 2011
Less retrotransposon damage to DNA?


Since when did retrotransposons account for a considerable enough amount of genome damage to warrant their investigation? What evidence is there of retrotransposons being harmful?

GO NETHERLANDS!

Why don't they mention it in the article?


Because it's irrelevant?


Oct 17, 2011
aroc91: Since when did retrotransposons account for a considerable enough amount of genome damage to warrant their investigation? What evidence is there of retrotransposons being harmful?

Just speculation. See http://medicalxpr...lls.html

Oct 18, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Oct 18, 2011
GO NETHERLANDS!

Why don't they mention it in the article?


Because it's irrelevant?


ooh, but it is relevant to mention America and Canada yes? hypocrite.

It is much more relevant to mention where the gene pool is from? Our evolution line is way different than people who are from america. It is much worth mentioning. It is relevant when they are from china?

But hey america is just a little kid who cant respect their parents.

Oct 18, 2011

ooh, but it is relevant to mention America and Canada yes? hypocrite.

It is much more relevant to mention where the gene pool is from? Our evolution line is way different than people who are from america. It is much worth mentioning. It is relevant when they are from china?

But hey america is just a little kid who cant respect their parents.


What in the hell are you talking about? How am I a hypocrite? What relevant information does her country of origin add to the article?

Also, nice job using this as an excuse to make a "clever" little quip about how much you dislike America. That's quite relevant as well.

Oct 19, 2011
There are almost certainly aspects involved in super long lives that won't show up in DNA sequencing - DNA methylation and parental imprinting.

While they're at it tho, they really ought to sequence the 100 year old man who just completed a full marathon!! (NOT joking, he's 100, and completed the full marathon, Toronto I think, in just under 8 1/2 hours.

It will be very interesting to see how long he lives, what his mental acuity is currently and in some following years, along with other aspects such as those mentioned in this article, and what finally gets him.

A marathon at 100. Mind boggling.

Oct 22, 2011
Gooo Netherlands!! Although it really isn't that important, living longer than a hundred years is an anomaly in itself, if ONLY happened in the Netherlands, then it would be important. Aroc 91, face it, nobody likes America but Americans, and alot of the Americans I know don't like America anymore....sorry if you're American. The States can do alot of good for the world....but do waaay more harm in most cases. Then either try to deflect the worlds attention away from it, deny they did anything wrong, or justify it with very transparent, staged circumstances and overly dramatic hype.


Ok? So what's your point? My government is stupid. Oh well. How is that relevant at all in the context of this article?

I KNOW nobody likes America. You don't have to tell me that. Don't tell me to "face it." That just makes you a presumptuous ass, assuming I mindlessly take pride in the completely coincidental location in which I was born.

Oct 24, 2011
But hey america is just a little kid who cant respect their parents.


Projecting??

Echoing Aroc91, geographic location is not relevant to DNA research. We don't know this woman's genealogy.

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