From Scientific American:
A type of gene mutation long known to extend the lives of worms, flies and mice also turns up in long-lived humans. Researchers found that among Ashkenazi Jews, those who survived past age 95 were much more likely than their peers to possess one of two similar mutations in the gene for insulinlike growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R). The mutations seem to make cells less responsive than normal to insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF 1), a key growth hormone secreted by the liver. In past studies, IGF1 disruption increased the life span of mice by 30 to 40 percent and delayed the onset of age-related diseases in the animals.
The finding suggests that the IGF1R mutations confer added “susceptibility” to longevity, perhaps in concert with other genetic variants, the research team reports in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. “This is the tip of an iceberg of potential genetic alterations or mutations that are associated with longevity,” says study co-author Pinchas Cohen, a professor and chief of endocrinology at Mattel Children’s Hospital at U.C.L.A. (University of California, Los Angeles).