Heritability of Longevity and the Role of Early and Mid-Life Environments
Heidi Hanson, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Sandra Hasstedt, University of Utah
While it is widely accepted that life-span is determined by a combination of genetic, social and physical environment, and stochastic factors, the interdependent and dynamic role of genes and environment is still not well understood. This study has two main goals: 1) estimate the heritability of life-span after age 30 and the heritability of exceptional longevity; 2) test for differences in heritability estimates of longevity in populations stratified by environmental exposure. Using methods designed for multigenerational pedigrees and information from the Utah Population Database, a rich source of linked population-based information, we can compare the heritability of longevity across childhood environments. Our sample consists of 20,120 individuals from 802 three generation pedigrees. Our findings support previous studies suggesting a moderate heritable component to longevity that increases with age. We find some evidence that socioeconomic status and environments marked by high childhood mortality affect the heritability of longevity.
Presented in Session 134: Biodemography, Health, and Mortality