By looking at people’s DNA, researchers can potentially predict whether a person can expect to live longer or die sooner than average, according to a study released on Tuesday by the University of Edinburgh.
A team led by the university’s Usher Institute looked at genetic data from more than half a million people alongside records of their parents’ lifespan.
Some 12 areas of the human genome were pinpointed as having a significant impact on lifespan, including five sites that have not been reported before.
The team analyzed the combined effect of genetic variations that influence lifespan to produce a scoring system.
They found that people who score in the top ten percent of the population might expect to live up to five years longer than those who score in the lowest ten percent, according to the team.
“If we take 100 people at birth, or later, and use our lifespan score to divide them into ten groups, the top group will live five years longer than the bottom on average,” said Dr Peter Joshi, who is an AXA Fellow at the Usher Institute.
The study has been published in the journal eLife.