Friday March 22, 2019

Genes of Your Uncle or Aunt May Decide Your Longevity, Says Study

The study has led us to be far stricter in selecting the people in whom you have to look for those genes, the researchers said

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Gene triggering antibiotic reaction risk identified. Pixabay

The key to longevity can probably be found in the genes of your long-living uncles and aunts and not just parents, finds a study.

Researchers, from Netherlands’ Leiden University and US’ University of Utah, showed that an individual’s chances of dying is reduced, even if the parents themselves did not live to be extremely old, but aunts and uncles are among the top survivors in the family.

Top survivors refers to people in the top 10 per cent age-wise of a group of people born in a family within a given time period.

“We observed the more long-lived relatives you have, the lower your hazard of dying at any point in life,” said lead author Niels van den Berg, doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

“Longevity is heritable, but that primarily applies to persons from families where multiple members are among the top 10 per cent survivors of their birth cohort. The key to a long life can probably be found in the genes of these families,” said the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Genes. Pixabay

For the study, the team analysed the genealogies of nearly 314,819 people from over 20,360 families.

The search for genes associated with human longevity has been ongoing for a long time but those genes turned out to be much more difficult to discover than genes for diseases.

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The study has led us to be far stricter in selecting the people in whom you have to look for those genes, the researchers said.

According to Ken Smith, Professor at Utah, the findings underscore the importance of constructing high-quality family trees that “allow us to observe complete life-spans of individuals over generations and in diverse locations. (IANS)

Next Story

To Ensure Transparency, WHO Panel Aims for Registry of All Human Gene-Editing Research

The WHO panel's statement said any human gene-editing work should be done for research only, should not be done in human clinical trials, and should be conducted transparently.

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A researcher works with embryos at a lab in Shenzhen in southern China's Guandong province, Oct. 9, 2018. An expert committee Tuesday called for the U.N. health agency to create a global registry of scientists working on gene editing. VOA

It would be irresponsible for any scientist to conduct human gene-editing studies in people, and a central registry of research plans should be set up to ensure transparency, World Health Organization experts said Tuesday.

After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene-editing experts — which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies — said it had agreed on a framework for setting future standards.

It said a central registry of all human genome-editing research was needed “in order to create an open and transparent database of ongoing work,” and asked the WHO to start setting up such a registry immediately.

“The committee will develop essential tools and guidance for all those working on this new technology to ensure maximum benefit and minimal risk to human health,” Soumya Swamanathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said in a statement.

FILE - He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province, Oct. 10, 2018. Chinese scientist He says he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies.
– He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province, Oct. 10, 2018. Chinese scientist He says he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies. VOA

A Chinese scientist last year claimed to have edited the genes of twin baby girls.

News of the births prompted global condemnation, in part because it raised the ethical specter of so-called “designer babies” — in which embryos can be genetically modified to produce children with desirable traits.

Top scientists and ethicists from seven countries called last week for a global moratorium on gene editing of human eggs, sperm or embryos that would result in such genetically-altered babies — saying this “could have permanent and possibly harmful effects on the species.”

The WHO panel’s statement said any human gene-editing work should be done for research only, should not be done in human clinical trials, and should be conducted transparently.

genes
After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene-editing experts — which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies — said it had agreed on a framework for setting future standards. Pixabay

“It is irresponsible at this time for anyone to proceed with clinical applications of human germline genome editing.”

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The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomed the panel’s initial plans. “Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically,” he said in a statement.

The committee said it aims over the next two years to produce “a comprehensive governance framework” for national, local and international authorities to ensure human genome-editing science progresses within agreed ethical boundaries. (VOA)