Recent advances in human gene-longevity association studies

G. De Benedictis, Qihua Tan, B. Jeune, K. Christensen, S. V. Ukraintseva, M. Bonafè, C. Franceschi, J. W. Vaupel, A. I. Yashin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reviews the recent literature on genes and longevity. The influence of genes on human life span has been confirmed in studies of life span correlation between related individuals based on family and twin data. Results from major twin studies indicate that approximately 25% of the variation in life span is genetically determined. Taking advantage of recent developments in molecular biology, researchers are now searching for candidate genes that might have an influence on life span. The data on unrelated individuals emerging from an ever-increasing number of centenarian studies makes this possible. This paper summarizes the rich literature dealing with the various aspects of the influence of genes on individual survival. Common phenomena affecting the development of disease and longevity are discussed. The major methodological difficulty one is confronted with when studying the epidemiology of longevity involves the complexity of the phenomenon, which arises from the polygenic nature of life span and historical mortality change. We discuss this issue and suggest new methodological approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-920
Number of pages12
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2001


  • Disease
  • Gene
  • Human longevity
  • Life span correlation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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