Asian longevity gene found in Europeans

A GENE linked to longevity in Japanese people has also been uncovered in Europeans, suggesting people with the right genes the world over can reach a ripe old age, a new study says.

The research, by Germany's Kiel University, compared the genetic make-up of 388 Germans over 100 years old with 731 younger people and found that a variant of the gene FOXO3A occurred very frequently in the older group.

This confirms the findings of an earlier US study in September 2008 in which scientists examined the genes of 3,741 Japanese men over 95 and came to the same conclusion.

"This discovery is of particular importance because Japanese and Europeans are relatively different genetically. Now we can assume that this gene plays a role worldwide in living longer,'' said Professor Almut Nebel, head of the research group.

The study was published online on Tuesday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.,00.html