EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

January 6, 2013

Longer-life gene variant found in study

SANTA ANA, Calif.—If you lead an active, extroverted life and are something of a thrill seeker, you might be genetically primed to live into your 90s or longer, according to a new study by a team that included University of California, Irvine researchers.

A variation of a much-studied gene involved in transmission of dopamine, a key component of the brain’s reward and learning system, was found to be far more frequent among the very old.

And the same gene variant was also linked to longer life in mice.

The variant itself might not extend lifespan directly, said Robert Moyzis, a UCI biological chemistry professor and an author of the study.

Instead, it appears to predispose those who bear it to a more vigorous lifestyle.

“This particular variation has already been associated with personality traits that are much more outgoing, much more socially engaged,” Moyzis said. “We think it’s a simple as that. Obviously, if you are much more likely to be engaged in physical and intellectual activities as you age, there have been many studies that have shown that is a good predictor of adding a few more years to your life.”

The human subjects in the study came from Laguna Woods, part of a group involved in the Leisure World Cohort Study that began in 1981. It included people who were 90 years old or older in 2003; most of them have since passed away, Moyzis said.

But their genes, as well as cell lines, live on, perpetuated in laboratories so they will be available for a variety of research projects.

In this study, genetic samples from 310 people 90 years old or older were checked for the gene variant, known as the DRD4 7R allele.

Sixty-six percent more people possessed the gene variant in the 90-plus group when compared with a control group of nearly 3,000, aged seven to 45.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Senate Confirms McDonald As VA Secretary Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One Two Huge Fires Burning in Northern California Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Arts, Humanities Awards Handed Out at WH Former Va. Governor's Corruption Trial Begins Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video
Latest World News
Raw: Aftermath, Artillery Shells Hit Donetsk Muslims Celebrate Eid El-Fitr Around the World Gaza Official: at Least 100 Killed Tuesday Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Today in History for July 29th Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Today in History for July 28th Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 27th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv
Photos of the Week