DNA can tell a lot about a person: his or her region of origin, his or her ancestry, his or her phenotype, or even his or her risk to certain diseases. Now, a recently published study revealed that clues can be obtained from our DNA to predict if a person will live more or less than the average, i.e. determining the person’s life expectancy.
As reported by ScienceDaily, experts at the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh analyzed the effect of combining the genetic variations that influence longevity to generate a scoring system. The specialists highlighted that twelve areas of the human genome were identified as having a significant impact on life expectancy and evaluated the genetic data of more than half a million people and records of their families’ life expectancy.
The scientists concluded that “if they take 100 people at birth, or later, and use their longevity score to divide them into ten groups, the top decile will live five years longer than those in the background on average.”
The experts pointed out that the most efficient areas of life expectancy are related to heart disease and deadly diseases associated with tobacco. However, the research did not take into account genes associated with cancer varieties not directly related to tobacco use.
A few months, an American start-up had already announced that it has developed a system able to know a person’s life expectancy through a simple blood test. The test focuses on the genetic heritage and lifestyle of the person.
Using the blood test, the scientists would be able to calculate the “epigenetic age” of a person through a complex algorithm. The “epigenetic age” different from the chronological age in that it also takes into account, for example, the person’s lifestyle. “A 45-year-old who has smoked a lot, eaten a lot of fat and had little exercise could potentially have a much higher epigenetic age, say 55 or 60,” explains the researchers then explained.
According to the researchers of the latest study, the findings will provide new insights into the biological mechanisms and diseases associated with aging.
The study, supported by the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom and the AXA Research Fund, was published in the eLife scientific journal.