The object of this study is to compare genomic and molecular data from extremely long-lived individuals among themselves (seeing what’s similar) and with “normal” individuals, especially those who died having known illnesses, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, etc. (seeing what’s different).
Heredity of Longevity (it ’s partially in the genes)
- In 1996, James Vaupel published a paper1 showing that across several thousand Danish twins, approximately 20-26% of their longevity could be attributed to genetics. However, the mean age of the twins in that study was only 70 years -- implying that these individuals likely did not have enough “protective genes” to inherit from their parents.
- The same researchers published another study2 of nonagenarians and centenarians, which noted that the discovery of genetic factors associated with exceptional longevity increases with the age of the subjects. This study, and many others, strongly suggest that the genetic component of exceptional longevity gets larger with increasing age, and is especially high for those aged 106 years and older.
- Tom Perls of Boston University has published a study3 suggesting that “the older you are, the healthier you’ve been.”
- Perls’ group the siblings of centenarians have roughly a three-and-a-half times greater chance of reaching 100 years of age than siblings of non-centenarians.
- It has also been stated that the siblings of male supercentenarians have a seventeen times greater chance of living to 100 than that of the general population.
The collection process involves either obtaining spit, blood, or (if deceased) tissue, from the Subject. The spit collection kit takes about 10 to 20 mins. for the Subject to spit about a teaspoon of saliva into one or two tubes. In the case of a blood sample, the Androcyte team hires a phlebotomist, nurse, or doctor to draw blood from the Subject in their place of residence. Total time for the blood draw is generally about a half-hour. Collecting tissue from an embalmed corpse is generally done by a mortician under the direction of the Androcyte team. Collection in this case can be performed anytime after death and preferably before burial.
Once the sample is taken, it is anonymized (assigned a proprietary number and all other identifying marks are removed, so as to preserve the privacy of the Subject) and then overnighted to a laboratory where the sample is processed. After a number of samples are accumulated, they are sent to another laboratory for sequencing. Androcyte currently uses Illumina for its whole-genome sequencing of Supercentenarian samples. It takes approximately three months for the samples to be sequenced and for the biological samples to be turned into data for the Androcyte team to begin analyzing.
Androcyte uses both proprietary and public-domain software to analyze the genomic data it collects. For this study, genomic data from the Supercentenarians are compared with data from non-supercentenarians, especially those whose cause of death was known.