Would you want to know what the future has in store ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Nogas1974
Scientists in Edinburgh have developed a DNA risk score system to predict how long a person might live.
The research, which was carried out at Edinburgh University's Usher Institute, involved an analysis of 500,000 DNA samples from people of European ancestry in Europe, the UK and the United States.
While most people were found to have roughly the same life expectancy, the top and bottom ten percent of the population can expect to live for five more (or fewer) years based on DNA alone.
"The way statistics work, you have a clearer lens the more people you have in the sample," said Dr Peter Joshi. "This time we showed that a gene that affects which blood type you are - A or B or O - affects how long you live. Another gene, insulin-like growth factor, appears to affect how you age."
"But the overall shape of our findings are that the main way that genetics seems to affect how long you live is through susceptibility to heart disease. If you're carrying variants that protect you from heart disease, they seem to be the things that make the biggest difference."
While it is still early days yet, studies such as this could one day make it possible to more accurately determine a person's genetic susceptibility to certain conditions to the point where preventative action could be taken - potentially saving thousands of lives.
In some cases however, such as in predicting a person's susceptibility to an incurable degenerative disease, it becomes unclear as to whether such knowledge would be beneficial or detrimental.
"So you're giving yourself a piece of information that you might argue is just a fact, but it's a fact that might worry you and that worry is not likely to be very productive in that there's not much you can do about it," said Dr Joshi.
Source: Herald Scotland | Comments (6)
DNA, Life Expectancy