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Genetics of Aging

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Science  17 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5337, pp. 407-411
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5337.407

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Abstract

The role of genetics in determining life-span is complex and paradoxical. Although the heritability of life-span is relatively minor, some genetic variants significantly modify senescence of mammals and invertebrates, with both positive and negative impacts on age-related disorders and life-spans. In certain examples, the gene variants alter metabolic pathways, which could thereby mediate interactions with nutritional and other environmental factors that influence life-span. Given the relatively minor effect and variable penetrance of genetic risk factors that appear to affect survival and health at advanced ages, life-style and other environmental influences may profoundly modify outcomes of aging.

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