Studying a group of Ashkenazi Jews noted for their long lives, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine say that longevity genes appear to be responsible for fighting off disease-causing genes in the very old, a condition that causes more disease-causing genes to build up over a person's lifetime. The researchers speculate that it may be possible that a single longevity gene buffers against disease-causing genes, which would open the way to developing new therapies that would mimic the activity of that gene. The Einstein researchers are expanding their longevity research, using high-throughput technology to go beyond the 66 genetic markers involved in this study. They're looking for genetic networks that play a role in aging.
"This study shows that our approach, which was inspired by a theoretical model, can reveal underlying mechanisms that explain seemingly paradoxical observations in a complex trait such as aging," says Dr. Aviv Bergman. "So we're hopeful that this method could also help uncover the mechanisms-the gene interactions-responsible for other complex biological traits such as cancer and diabetes."
- check out the release on their work
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