Intergenerational transmission of longevity is not affected by other familial factors: Evidence from 16,905 Dutch families from Zeeland, 1812-1962
Niels van den Berg,
P. Eline Slagboom,
Posted 01 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/781500 (published DOI: 10.1080/1081602X.2020.1740763)
Posted 01 Oct 2019
Studies have shown that long-lived individuals seem to pass their survival advantage on to their offspring. Offspring of long-lived parents had a lifelong survival advantage over individuals without long-lived parents, making them more likely to become long-lived themselves. We test whether the survival advantage enjoyed by offspring of long-lived individuals is explained by environmental factors. 101,577 individuals from 16,905 families in the 1812-1886 Zeeland cohort were followed over time. To prevent that certain families were overrepresented in our data, disjoint family trees were selected. Offspring was included if the age at death of both parents was known. Our analyses show that multiple familial resources are associated with survival within the first 5 years of life, with stronger maternal than paternal effects. However, between ages 5 and 100 both parents contribute equally to offspring’s survival chances. After age 5, offspring of long-lived fathers and long-lived mothers had a 16-19% lower chance of dying at any given point in time than individuals without long-lived parents. This survival advantage is most likely genetic in nature, as it could not be explained by other, tested familial resources and is transmitted equally by fathers and mothers.
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