Journal Article

Genes and longevity: lessons from studies of centenarians

Yashin, A. I., De Benedictis, G., Vaupel, J. W., Tan, Q., Andreev, K. F., Iachine, I. A., Bonafe, M., Valensin, S., De Luca, M., Carotenuto, L., Franceschi, C.

Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 55A:7, B319-B328 (2000)


In population studies of aging, the data on genetic markers are often collected for individuals from different age groups. The idea of such studies is to identify "longevity" or "frailty" genes by comparing the frequencies of genotypes in the oldest and in the younger groups of individuals. In this paper we discuss a new approach to the analysis of such data. This approach, based on the maximum likelihood method, combines data on genetic markers with survival information obtained from standard demographic life tables. This method allows us to evaluate survival characteristics for individuals carrying respective candidate genes. It can also be used in the estimation of the effects of allele–area and allele–allele interaction, either in the presence or absence of hidden heterogeneity. We apply this method to the analysis of Italian data on genetic markers for five autosomal loci and mitochondrial genomes. Then we discuss basic assumptions used in this analysis and directions of further research. (© 2000 BY THE THE GERONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA)