The research team that retracted a Science paper reporting a genetic signature for extreme longevity has published a re-analysis of the original results. While the new study took a fresh look at the genes of the original subjects, which included around 1,000 elderly people over 90 years old and 1,200 controls, it also included a new cohort of 60 individuals with a median age of 107, according to the new report published last week in PLoS ONE. This time the team found a group of 281 gene variants that predicted the likelihood of becoming a centenarian with around 60 percent accuracy in some cohorts.
The original Science paper, published in July 2010, claimed to have identified 19 genes that predicted extreme longevity with 77 percent accuracy. However, the authors retracted the paper a year later after critics discredited the results due to inadequate controls and flaws in the gene sequencing chip used.
"We made a mistake," Boston University biostatistician and author on both papers Paola Sebastiani, told ScienceNOW. "At the same time, we continue to believe this is a good paper."