Centenarians: It's All in the FOXO3A Gene?

Variations in two genes are associated with longevity.

Posted Dec 27, 2011

It seems like every month or so there is a story in the news about someone who smoked a pack a day, drank a fifth of whiskey on a regular basis, and lived to be 110.  You think to yourself, this makes no sense.  This just flies in the face of all that we have been told about eating well, drinking in moderation, and not smoking

It turns out that variations in one particular gene has been tied to living a long life.  Two studies have found that variations in the gene FOXO3A are associated with longevity (Flachsbart et al. 2009; Willcox et al. 2008).  Not only that, but in the Flaschbart study, the association between FOXO3A gene varations and longevity was even stronger with centenarians than nonagenarians.  

In the Flashbart and Wilcox studies, the association between gene variations of FOXO3A and longevity were equal across gender.  The Wilcox study also looked at gene variations in the FOX01A gene.  The study found that FOX01A gene variations were only associated with longevity in women. 

So we may find out that living a long life has more to do with your genes than anything else.


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