The parts of the genetic make-up that are thought to determine an individual’s maximum possible longevity, so-called telomeres, are inherited from the father but not the mother. This is shown by a research team at Umeå University in the coming issue of the U.S. scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Telomeres are genetic material with repetitive content at the ends of DNA, and their main function is believed to be to protect the rest of the genetic material from degradation. Telomeres are shortened each time a cell divides, which in broad terms means that the longer a cell’s telomeres are, the longer the individual can live, in theory. A person’s telomeres are shortened with age, which the findings of the study indeed show: telomeres were shortened by an average of 21 nitrogen base pairs per year in the subjects studied.
The study, soon to appear in the U.S. scientific journal PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out on 132 healthy subjects in 49 different families with no close kinship to each other in northern Sweden. The subjects consisted of fathers and mothers (mean age 66 years) and their daughters and sons (mean age 37 years). Blood samples were taken, and mononuclear immune cells were culled.
Bertil Born | alfa
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