Tremendous progress has been noted in the genetic study of aging, with animal models suggesting important roles for a number of metabolic pathways. Despite this fact, humans exceed laboratory models by far. Only evidence from humans can identify the driving force behind aging. This article seeks to thematically review progress in identifying human genetic variants linked to longevity. It also looks at the bigger perspective of progress in establishing genetic associates of disease and functioning and healthy living in elderly people. Although much of the existing evidence is scattered, recent findings and strong methods are contributing to the growth in this field.
According to the research, biological age is related to telomeres’ length. Also there’s a relation to the DNA stretches found at a chromosomes’ end. These stretches protect chromosomes from damages during their day to day functioning. Interesting though is the fact that telomeres are different in different people but they are similar in siblings. Scientists believe that each person is born with telomeres of a particular length. These cells grow shorter due to cell division and this is what results in aging.
The research found out that people with a variation in their genetics had telomeres that were shorter in length; this means that these individuals have reduced protection for their chromosomes. This variation in genetics is associated with telomerase referred to as TERC. Several studies conducted on animals show that low levels of TERC results in telomeres that are shorter and hence resulting in an increased biological aging (Moisse, 2010)
Aging is not just a growth in size and appearance, but a complex process that involves various factors as has been shown above. This research not only explains the reasons behind aging, but the cause of the difference in aging, answering some questions that I have been keen on understanding. The process of aging is another area that is of great interest and I would love to get to know about it.
Moisse, K. (2010). Researchers Identify Genetic Variant Linked to Faster Biological Aging.
Scientific American. Retrieved from