Live long? Die young? The answer is not in your genes

My last posting showed how deliberate practice overwhelms differences in natural ability to explain the success of top performers which led to the conclusion that you have to do what you love and love what you do!

This posting is somewhat related as recent studies on longevity are showing that genetic make-up is not a good determinant of life expectancy. Studies have shown that while your height is 80 to 90 percent determined by parents’ height only 3 percent of your life expectancy can be explained by how long your parents lived.

Even identical twins usually die years apart. Genetic makeup can influence your predisposition to a certain disease such as cancer, but studies have shown that even in identical twin if one twin gets the disease the risk that the other twin gets it is only slightly increased relative to the average population.

While the study did not say whether it was the environment that impacted longevity, it emphasized the importance of random events: a bad mutation that leads to cancer, a bad fall, a car accident, etc.

You can read the full article at:
www.nytimes.com/2006/08/31/health/31age.html?hp&ex=1157083200&en=9198431085b8eb21&ei=5094&partner=homepage

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  • Hi Fabrice,

    There are, however, also credible voices that point out that genes play a rather significant role. Cynthia Kenyon (professor at UCSF), for instance, argues that the aging process, like everything else in biology, is under exquisite regulation. In fact, experiments with roundworms and mice have shown that the manipulation of a single specific gene can already increase life expectancy by up to 600%. I have briefly written about this topic in an older entry of my blog: http://takeoffphenomenon.blogspot.com/2006/03/surviving-longer.html

    Best wishes
    Thomas