The existence of families in which a number of members live for an exceptionally long time suggests there is a strong genetic component to longevity, but so far the genes that control the aging process have not been identified. In August 28 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annibale Puca and colleagues from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute show that a region on chromosome 4 have a gene, or a group of genes, whose subtle modifications may give a person a better chance to live beyond the average life expectancy.

Puca et al. performed a genome-wide scan for loci predisposing for exceptional longevity on 308 persons with a minimum age of 98 years. They found significant evidence for linkage on a region of chromosome 4, strongly suggest the presence of a gene — or genes — on this chromosome that exerts a substantial influence on the life span...

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