The Genetic Hallmark of Human Longevity
Recent data indicate that life span is strongly inherited in families with exceptional longevity. Despite this evidence for a substantial genetic component, the inherited biological factor(s) that define life span in long-lived humans remain unknown. To take advantage of the completion of the Human Genomic Project, and explosion in new biological data, we utilize multidisciplinary approach to study exceptional longevity in humans. We employ a combination of large-scale genomic studies (SNPs microarray), molecular data analysis on large data sets of genetic variation, and evolutionary modeling tools to probe into new genetic pathways for exceptional longevity in humans. The theory and methodologies developed for the study of evolution as the transition of genetic variation within a population into that of variation between populations in response to natural selection,"differential reproduction", over the course of many generations are applied to the study of changes in the genetic makeup of single population in response to "differential mortality" over the course of one, or two overlapping generation(s).