How Do Genes Affect Aging? The Biodemography of Human Health and Survival

Anatoliy I. Yashin, Duke University
Deqing Wu, Duke University
Konstantin G. Arbeev, Duke University
Eric Stallard, Duke University
Kenneth C. Land, Duke University
Svetlana V. Ukraintseva, Duke University

In genome wide association studies of human life span, none of the genetic variants have reached the level of genome-wide statistical significance. The roles of such variants in life span regulation remain unclear. In this paper we performed biodemographic analyses of genetic regulation of life span using data on low-significance longevity alleles selected in our earlier study of Framingham cohort. We found that survival curves considered as functions of the number of longevity alleles exhibit regularities known as “rectangularization” of survival curves. The presence of such pattern indicates that regulation of life span involves genes responsible for stress resistance. We showed that groups of individuals carrying different numbers of longevity alleles in their genomes have different age patterns of mortality by cause, incidence rates for cancer and cardio-vascular diseases. The results of these analyses emphasize the importance of using biodemographic approach in the analyses human aging, health and mortality.

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Presented in Session 92: Disease and Aging