What's the secret to living past 110?

June 12, 2012 The Yomiuri Shimbun

Is there some secret that lets a human live past the age of 110? A research team collaborating with the University of Tokyo is betting it's in their genes.

The team, led by Keio University lecturer Nobuyoshi Hirose, has started analyzing the genomes of 50 supercentenarians, people who lived to the age of 110 or older, in an effort to find out the secret to their longevity.

People who live into their 100s are known to have a lower frequency of developing conditions such as diabetes, and cancer. The team hopes to identify common features in their genes, which could contribute to treating and preventing the conditions.

An increasing number of people are living beyond 100. As of 2011, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry of Japan estimated there were 47,756 people in their 100s nationwide.

However, the number of people aged 110 or older is still relatively small. The 2010 national census showed there were 78 such people.

believe that human life spans are 20 percent to 30 percent determined by individual .

A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is a single variation in genome sequences found in one person in 20. Past research comparing SNPs among people 100 years or older did not identify any genes that would significantly affect the human life span.

For this reason, experts believe extreme longevity may be affected by very rare genetic variations found only in one in a million people and may involve two or more genes.

For its research, the team, which is working at the National Institute of Genetics, selected blood samples from 50 people who lived past 110 from among 700 people aged 100 or older.

The research is expected to uncover common features in the genes of supercentenarians that past research on was unable to identify. Such include rare variations, defects and repetitions in sequences, as well as changes in gene order.

The team also plans to compare the genetic makeup of people who lived past 110 with that of cancer and diabetes patients, in an effort to identify the causes of those diseases.

Last year, the research team successfully produced induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells using blood samples from people 110 or older. It plans to create blood vessels and heart muscle using iPS cells and conduct analyses on them.

"We'd like to uncover the secrets of healthy longevity through research on iPS cells and genome analysis," Hirose said.

Explore further: Genetic predisposition to disease common in two supercentenarians: study

Related Stories

Genetic predisposition to disease common in two supercentenarians: study

January 3, 2012
The first-ever published whole-genome sequences of not just one, but two supercentenarians, aged more than 114 years, reveal that both unusual and common genetic phenomena contribute to the genetic background of extreme human ...

Recommended for you

Can mice really mirror humans when it comes to cancer?

January 18, 2018
A new Michigan State University study is helping to answer a pressing question among scientists of just how close mice are to people when it comes to researching cancer.

Two new breast cancer genes emerge from Lynch syndrome gene study

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian have identified two new breast cancer genes. Having one of the genes—MSH6 and PMS2—approximately doubles a woman's risk of developing breast ...

Peers' genes may help friends stay in school, new study finds

January 18, 2018
While there's scientific evidence to suggest that your genes have something to do with how far you'll go in school, new research by a team from Stanford and elsewhere says the DNA of your classmates also plays a role.

A centuries-old math equation used to solve a modern-day genetics challenge

January 18, 2018
Researchers developed a new mathematical tool to validate and improve methods used by medical professionals to interpret results from clinical genetic tests. The work was published this month in Genetics in Medicine.

Epigenetics study helps focus search for autism risk factors

January 16, 2018
Scientists have long tried to pin down the causes of autism spectrum disorder. Recent studies have expanded the search for genetic links from identifying genes toward epigenetics, the study of factors that control gene expression ...

Group recreates DNA of man who died in 1827 despite having no body to work with

January 16, 2018
An international team of researchers led by a group with deCODE Genetics, a biopharmaceutical company in Iceland, has partly recreated the DNA of a man who died in 1827, despite having no body to take tissue samples from. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

KristinLSC
not rated yet Jun 12, 2012
Very good article, if anyone is interested in more information on these amazing people or other supercentenarians(people over 110 years) we track all verified living supercentenarians at livingsupercentenarians.com .

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.