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To Long Life

Being more highly educated and not smoking are linked to long life in a new genetic study, BBC News reports.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and elsewhere have conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis using information on more than 600,000 people. As they reported in Nature Communications on Friday, the researchers found two novel genomic regions — HLA-DQA1/DRB1 and LPA — linked to longevity, in addition to known links at CHRNA3/5 and APOE.

In addition, they found that quitting smoking as well as educational attainment and openness to new experiences are linked genetically to increased lifespan. Meanwhile, lung cancer, body fat, and smoking were negatively correlated with lifespan. The further estimated that an increase of one BMI unite reduces lifespan by seven months, while another year of education extends it 11 months.

Study author Peter Joshi tells the BBC that some 20 percent of the variation in lifespan maybe genetically inherited. He notes, of course, that people's choices also have a great effect.