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Scientists have been able to find around 150 variants in seventy genes that allow them to predict whether an individual will live a long life. When we say long life, it means well into his or her nineties. The accuracy of the prediction is about seventy-seven percent. (See Reference 1) These variants are longevity genes.
The researchers feel that these variants of longevity genes actually help to suppress those genes that result in serious health problems like dementia and heart diseases that are often found in the aging population. However, at the same time, researchers warn that having the presence of longevity genes does not necessarily mean that a person will live a long life. Many factors affect longevity, especially lifestyle and environment. (See Reference 1)
Researchers also stress that luck plays a role in determining the lifespan of a person as twenty-three percent of people over the age of hundred, who were tested, did not have the longevity gene. Researchers feel that these people without the gene may have had lived a healthy life, they may not have smoked cigarettes or they may not have consumed red meat. (See Reference 1) It is very difficult to say why the people without the gene had a long lifespan.
However, finding of longevity gene in humans is a great achievement for science. It is quite possible that this gene may help people figure out how long their bodies are genetically predisposed to live. Also, finding of the longevity gene variants could help science discover predictive medicines that could prevent ailments that come on with aging. Researchers already know that longevity tends to run in a family. So, it is quite possible that those living long may not be having genes that cause age related ailments and diseases. (See Reference 1)
One thing is for sure science still has a lot of work to do where longevity gene is concerned, and only time will tell how genes, eating habits and environmental factors contribute to help people live longer and healthier lives.
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