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Could Your Family Tree Hold Longevity Clues? Google Thinks So

Posted on 27 July 2015

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Google’s new company dedicated to tackling aging, Calico, has already embarked on a number of different projects since its inception. In the latest development, a partnership with AncestryDNA has been announced in the hope that analysing family data and DNA profiles might shed more light on hereditary longevity trends. The undertaking opens up more than 1 million DNA samples to analyse along with all its accompanying family tree data from millions of individuals across the globe. 

“Now that we’ve got 1 million samples, there’s enough statistical power in the dataset to elucidate drug targets,” said Ken Chahine, Ancestry’s executive vice president and head of DNA and health. “If you aggregate a set of individuals who had long-lived families and we have their genetic information as well, that’s a way to start making hypotheses about the heritability of longevity.”

As more data continuously builds, more clues from different areas emerge and potentially provide new drug targets and avenues for gene therapy. Any discoveries might also underline key mechanisms in the aging process which further our understanding. As far as we know no humans have ever made it past their 12th decade, but widespread genomic analysis could highlight the fundamental aspects of biology that delay or shorten lifespan. We may already have an idea of the hallmarks of aging, but we’re a long way from understanding the precise details in humans, and this project could provide another piece of the puzzle. 

Read more at Bloomberg

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