Genes, ageing and longevity in humans: Problems, advantages and perspectives

S. Salvioli, F. Olivieri, F. Marchegiani, M. Cardelli, A. Santoro, E. Bellavista, M. Mishto, L. Invidia, M. Capri, S. Valensin, F. Sevini, E. Cevenini, L. Celani, F. Lescai, E. Gonos, C. Caruso, G. Paolisso, G. De Benedictis, D. Monti, C. Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many epidemiological data indicate the presence of a strong familial component of longevity that is largely determined by genetics, and a number of possible associations between longevity and allelic variants of genes have been described. A breakthrough strategy to get insight into the genetics of longevity is the study of centenarians, the best example of successful ageing. We review the main results regarding nuclear genes as well as the mitochondrial genome, focusing on the investigations performed on Italian centenarians, compared to those from other countries. These studies produced interesting results on many putative "longevity genes". Nevertheless, many discrepancies are reported, likely due to the population-specific interactions between gene pools and environment. New approaches, including large-scale studies using high-throughput techniques, are urgently needed to overcome the limits of traditional association studies performed on a limited number of polymorphisms in order to make substantial progress to disentangle the genetics of a trait as complex as human longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1303-1323
Number of pages21
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Ageing
  • Association studies
  • Centenarians
  • Genetic polymorphisms
  • Longevity
  • Mitochondrial DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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