Cholesterol Lowering Gene Increases Longevity

November 11, 2003

Tags: Genetics + Genomics

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — For years scientists have suspected that both longevity and low cholesterol are closely linked to genetics. This suspicion proves accurate in a new study to be published this week online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which shows genetic variation in a gene known for playing a key role in lipoprotein production also appears to be significantly overrepresented in centenarians.

The study, co-authored by Whitehead Institute scientist Mark Daly, surveyed a large stretch of chromosome 4 taken from a group of 653 people 98 years and older and compared the findings with another group of individuals under 50. The study establishes that centenarians have a higher incidence of the genetic variant (which is reported to downregulate the gene) and confirms that more severe mutations confer even greater longevity.


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