Genetics Have Less Effect on Longevity, Calico Study Shows

Longevity May Not Be So Much About Your Genes

There is this sort of resignation that people feel when they learn that how long they will live is determined by their genes, which they have no control over. This has been the story for a long time until recently when a study was released by Ancestry showing that genetics may actually play less of a role in how long a person gets to live than previously thought.The Connection Between Heredity And Longevity

The new study is a result of collaboration between the privately-held genetics company and Calico Life Sciences, LLC, a life-extension spinoff of Google. This partnership ended a few months ago, according to information by an Ancestry spokesperson.

Researchers had worked with the theory that genetics play a very significant role in longevity for many years. Put differently, the human DNA was considered a major determinant of how long a person lives.

Estimates had it that genetics determines longevity by up to 30 percent. It explains the differences in how different persons live by up to that percentage.

But the new study by Ancestry and Calico suggests that your genes may contribute not more than 10% to your lifespan.

The researchers arrived at this conclusion after studying data from over 54 million family trees. They also examined the birth and death information of more than 400 million people.

“The true heritability of human longevity or birth cohorts across the 1800s and early 1900s was well below 10%,” the researchers wrote, attributing typical overestimation to what they called “assortative mating.”

Choice of partner is crucial

By assortative mating, the researchers were simply trying to state that a person’s choice of partner can determine how long they live. People often consider longevity to be genetic because they do not realize the role that this factor plays.

The study suggests that people seem to have a longer lifespan when they choose partners with traits and behaviors that match their own. They pass these traits on to future generations.

Of course, these traits and behaviors have to be those that are known to promote good health.

The effect a choice of partner may have on how long a person lives is definitely an interesting one. There are so many things people do these days to enhance longevity, ranging from taking costly pills and hormone injections like HGH testosterone to having young blood transfusions.

Healthy lifestyle important

This study once again highlights the importance of healthy lifestyle choices when it comes to promoting a longer lifespan.

Maintenance of a healthy, balanced diet is one of the traits and behaviors that when couples exhibit together can prolong their life. Exercise and even being friendly are also among factors that can play a role in longevity when exhibited by partners. Such couples are more likely to live for about the same length of years.

The more interesting bit is that parents who exhibit such traits and behaviors can transmit them to their children. This means future generations may also enjoy similar longevity.

Another recent study in Circulation reported by Business Insider indicated five key lifestyle factors that are connected to longevity. They identified these after looking at long-term studies involving around 123,000 adults.

It was observed that people who keep a Mediterranean diet, do cardio exercise at least 30 minutes daily, and don’t smoke tend to live longer. They also usually don’t take more than a drink or two per day and have healthy body weight.

Scientists have also identified certain personality traits that seem to have positive effects on longevity. They include openness, friendliness, emotional stability, and conscientiousness.

These research findings suggest that you have more to do in determining how long you live. Genetics is not so much of a problem as you might have thought.


Ancestry releases longevity study from a partnership with Google startup Calico

Estimates of the Heritability of Human Longevity Are Substantially Inflated due to Assortative Mating



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