Although long lives tend to run in families, genetics have far less influence on life than previously thought. Photo: Pexels…
Although long lives tend to run in families, genetics have far less influence on life than previously thought. Photo: Pexels
Although long lives tend to run in families, genetics have significantly less influence over life than previously thought, according to a new analysis of an aggregated set of family trees with more than 400 million people.
The study suggests that lifetime legacy is far below previous estimates, which did not clarify our tendency to choose partners with similar characteristics to our own.
“We can potentially learn many things about the biology of aging from human genetics, but if life is curable, it mothers our expectations of what types of things we can learn and how easy it will be” senior writer Graham Ruby, from Calico Life Sciences – a United States-based research and development company.
“It helps to summarize the issues that researchers who study aging can effectively ask,” she added.
Recovery measures how much life expectancy can be explained by genetic differences, except for differences such as lifestyle, socio-cultural factors and accidents.
While previous estimates of human lifetime hardenability have varied from about 15 to 30%, it was likely not more than seven percent, perhaps even lower.
For the study, published in the journal Genetics, the team used the online genealogical resource with subscriber-generated public family trees representing six billion ancestors.
Removing redundant records and those of people who still lived, they sewed the remaining pedigrees together with more than 400 million people, largely Americans of European descent.
Each of them was connected to another by either a parent or a spouse relationship.
They focused on relatives born in the 20th and early 20th centuries, and noted that the life expectancy of the spouses tended to be correlated, more like that of the siblings of the opposite sex.
Compared to different types of in-laws, they found that siblings and in-laws and first cousins had correlated life expectancy, even though they were not relatives and did not share households.
The discovery that a sibling’s siblings siblings or their husbands sibling spouses had a similar life for themselves made it clear that something else was at stake, the researchers said.
The answer may be in assorted mating. People tend to choose partners with their own characteristics – if so, how long they live, they explained.