Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 28 June 2006
Vol. 2006, Issue 10, p. pe20
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2006.10.pe20]


The Unusual Genetics of Human Longevity

Giovanna De Benedictis, and Claudio Franceschi

The authors are in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Calabria, Rende, Italy (G.D.B.), the Interdepartmental Center "L. Galvani" at the University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy (C.F.), and the Department of Gerontological Research, INRCA, Ancona, Italy (C.F.). E-mail: g.debenedictis{at} (G.D.B.)

Key Words: centenarians • human longevity • complex trait • genetic demographic approaches • antagonistic pleiotropy • complex allele timing • mitochondrial genome • homozygosity

Abstract: In no species other than humans do cultural, social, and biological factors interact with each other in modulating complex phenotypes. Thus, the identification of genetic factors that affect human longevity is a true challenge. The model of centenarians provides us a unique opportunity to tackle this challenge. In this Perspective, we discuss some recent findings (the impact of geography and demography on the longevity phenotype, the relationship between longevity and homozygosity, the role of the nuclear-mitochondrial genome cross-talk) by which new ideas are suggested, such as the concept of a complex allele timing as a pivotal process in modulating the probability of achieving longevity.

Citation: G. De Benedictis, C. Franceschi, The Unusual Genetics of Human Longevity. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2006 (10), pe20 (2006).

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