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Diet and environment profoundly modulate lifespan. We measured longevity as a function of diet and weight gain across a genetically diverse family of mice. We followed 1348 females from two parental strains—C57BL/6J and DBA/2J—and 146 cohorts of BXD isogenic progeny strains ( n = 73) across their lifespan on a low fat chow diet (CD, 18% calories from fat) and on a high fat diet (HFD, 60% calories from fat). On average, HFD shortens lifespan by 85 days or 12%, roughly equivalent to an 8–10 year decrease in humans. However, strain variation in the response of diet on longevity is remarkably high, ranging from a longevity loss of 54% in BXD65 to a gain of 37% in BXD8. Baseline weights and early weight gain are both associated with a mean decrease in longevity of ∼4 days/g. By 500 days-of-age, cases fed HFD gained four times as much weight as control on average. However, strain-specific variation was substantial, thus weight gain did not correlate well with lifespan. In summary, high fat had a strong negative effect on longevity, but genetic interactions effects were even stronger. This highlights the unequivocal importance of genetic differences in making dietary recommendations.

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