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Long-Lived Men

Researchers have found a genetic variant linked to longer life among men, the New York Times reports.

In lower organisms, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 signaling both regulate lifespan, leading an Albert Einstein College of Medicine-led team of researchers to suspect that a deletion in the growth hormone receptor gene might influence longevity among people.

As they report in Science Advances, the researchers genotyped exon 3 of the growth hormone receptor in four human cohorts that included long-lived individuals. From this, they found that the variant was more common among men who lived past 100 years of age than among 70-year-old men, as the Times reports. In particular, the researchers found that d3/d3 genotype individuals lived about 10 years longer than others.

"[O]ur findings suggest that the d3-GHR, as indicated by the distribution of homozygotes among the four populations examined, may be involved in modulating human longevity," Einstein's Gil Atzmon and colleagues write. 

However, the variant was just as likely to be among women who lived past 100 years of age as it was among 70-year-old women, suggesting that there are different genetic factors at play regarding longevity in men and women. But, the Times adds, researchers aren't sure what those differences may be. "This whole issue has shocked us," co-author Nir Barzilai, also from Einstein, tells the Times.