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Longevity Relatives Count score identifies heritable longevity carriers and suggests case improvement in genetic studies

By Niels van den Berg, Mar Rodríguez-Girondo, Kees Mandemakers, Angelique A.P.O Janssens, Marian Beekman, P. Eline Slagboom

Posted 16 Apr 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/609891 (published DOI: 10.1111/acel.13139)

Longevity loci represent key mechanisms of a life-long decreased mortality and decreased/compressed morbidity. However, identifying such loci is challenging. One of the most plausible reasons is the uncertainty in defining long-lived cases with the heritable longevity trait amongst long-living phenocopies. To avoid phenocopies, family selection scores have been constructed but these have not yet been adopted as state of the art in longevity research. Here we aim to identify individuals with the heritable longevity trait by using current insights and a novel family score based on these insights. We use a unique dataset connecting living study participants to their deceased ancestors covering 37,825 persons from 1,326 five-generational families, living between 1788 and 2019. Our main finding suggests that longevity is transmitted for at least 2 subsequent generations only when at least 20% of all relatives are long-lived. This proves the importance of family data to avoid phenocopies in genetic studies.

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