According to a group of scientists, the genes involved with the cell-signalling pathway related to growth also appear to influence the length of human lives. The research centred on those genes involved in the action of insulin-like growth factor (IFG-I) in Ashkenazi Jews aged between 95 and 110.
Animal research had previously shown that mutations to these genes resulted in two effects: impaired growth and longer life spans. Consequently, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University reasoned that the same might hold true for humans.
Research was then conducted on a group of 384 Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians as well as their children. The control group was made up of Ashkenazi Jews the same age as the centenarians’ offspring except with no previous family history of longevity.
The resulting data confirmed the hypothesis. It was found that the daughters of the centenarians were an average of 2.5cm shorter than the female controls and that they were much more likely to have a variety of mutations than were the receptor genes of the controls.
Dr. Barzilai, senior author of the study, has stated that a drug that decreases IGF-I action is currently being tested as a possible cancer treatment and could be used as an age delayer in the future.
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The actual findings were published in the March 4 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.