A GENETIC test could soon be available that will reveal if someone can expect to live to 100.
Scientists have identified a set of genetic fingerprints that predicts extreme long life with an accuracy of 77%.
They believe private companies are likely to use the information to create a longevity test, but are concerned about the social implications.
The 150 genetic variants are found in people who survive to their late 90s or beyond, with remarkably little disability.
They appear to exert a powerful effect, counteracting the influence of genes linked to age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease that can shorten life.
With the scientific data in the public domain, it may not be long before someone produces a “DNA chip” test for the long-life variants.
A student involved in the study is already working on a website that can be used by anyone with access to their genetic code.
It will analyse the genetic data to calculate the chances of longevity, and provide advice on how to interpret the results.
The research is published in the online version of the journal Science.
Dr Tom Perls, a leading member of the team from Boston University School of Medicine in the US, said: “You could conceivably produce a chip that would help predict people’s genetic predisposition for exceptional longevity.”
Scientists recruited 1,055 men and women whose ages ranged from 90 to 119. Their DNA was compared with that of 1,267 randomly chosen “control” individuals of various ages.
Using these variants, the scientists were able to predict “exceptional longevity” with 77% accuracy.
Some 45% of the very oldest participants — those aged 110 or more — had the largest share of longevity variants.
The scientists were also able to sort 90% of the centenarians into 19 groups with different genetic signatures linked to long survival and the delayed onset of various age-related diseases.
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