TitleBurden of disease variants in participants of the long life family study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsStevenson, M, Bae, H, Schupf, N, Andersen, S, Zhang, Q, Perls, T, Sebastiani, P
Date Published2015 Feb 5

Case control studies of nonagenarians and centenarians provide evidence that long-lived individuals do not differ in the rate of disease associated variants compared to population controls. These results suggest that an enrichment of novel protective variants, rather than a lack of disease associated variants, determine the genetic predisposition to exceptionally long lives. Using data from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS), we sought to replicate these findings and extend them to include a larger number of disease-specific risk alleles. To accomplish this goal, we built a genetic risk score for each of four age-related disease groups: Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers and compared the distribution of these scores between older participants of the LLFS, their offspring and their spouses. The analyses showed no significant differences in distribution of the genetic risk scores for cardiovascular disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, or cancer between the groups, while participants of the LLFS appeared to carry an average 1% fewer risk alleles for Alzheimer's disease compared to spousal controls and, while the difference may not be clinically relevant, it was statistically significant. However, the statistical significance between familial longevity and the Alzheimer's disease genetic risk score was lost when a more stringent linkage disequilibrium threshold was imposed to select independent genetic variants.