The DNA samples from the volunteers carry the genetics of their biological parents, so provide a practical way of studying exceptionally long lifespans. Eight genetic variants had already been linked for lifespan, mainly involved in heart disease and dementia. The results confirm that many genetic variants combine to influence human lifespan: no single gene variant was found to be responsible. The study found evidence to suggest that the genetic variants for average lifespan also influence exceptionally long life expectancy.
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For the study, the team studied 389,166 volunteers who took part in the UK Biobank, with confirmation in the US Health and Retirement Study and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. They undertook a genome-wide search for variants influencing how long participants#8217; parents lived.