When I’m asked about the secret to exceptional longevity – a question I get often – my usual answer is to “choose long-lived parents”. Upon making this statement to a well known scientist in the field of aging, her glib answer was that she was then going to buy a treadmill for her parents. The folly in this answer should be obvious. This is my way of saying that genetics plays a crucial role in how long people live – but it’s not the entire story.
Many scientists in the field of aging will tell you that when it comes to longevity, genetics contributes about 25% and lifestyle and environment about 75%. I wish the story of nature vs nurture regarding human longevity was that simple, but it’s not. The problem is that the entire population of the U.S., for example, is composed of subgroups that were born in different eras – often with vastly different lifetime experiences. Furthermore, the answer to the nature/nurture longevity question for 80 year old people is quite different from people aged 20. Why?
In the case of variation in current age, for people who have already reached older ages the biological sieve of time has selected the survivors, while time has yet to do its selection magic on the younger cohort – so the percentage influence of nature/nurture is vastly different for people of different ages. Regarding birth era, imagine how the environment in Ukraine today is influencing the future health and longevity of an entire generation of Ukranians relative to their age-matched counterparts in safe places elsewhere in the world.
This means that while the ratio of influence of genetics vs environment on longevity might be 25% / 75% for people aged 20, it might very well be completely reversed (75% genetic / 25% environment) for people that have already survived to age 80. The exact details of this gene/environment influence on longevity regarding birth cohort has yet to be worked out, but one thing we know for sure is that the ratio of influence now provided by scientists, does not apply equally to everyone.
This brings me to the main topic of this newsletter:
Lapetus has created a genetic analysis tool designed to inform users about their carrier status involving genetic polymorphisms associated with exceptional longevity and Alzheimer’s disease. We recently modified this tool to make it faster and simpler to use, which means it could now be a valuable tool for the life settlement industry as a validated genetic signal to help identify potential right-tail “longer-lived” individuals.
We can speak about validation with authority because the scientist that discovered this ‘longevity assurance gene’ is the Chief Medical Officer at Lapetus – here is a link to one of the many articles describing the most studied longevity gene in the world of aging science.
I’m using this newsletter to make the new genetic analysis available to readers for a one-time free use as a way to obtain feedback and gauge interest.
How Does It Work?
- It’s simple to use. First, you will need to have already gone through the genetic analysis done by 23andMe. Ancestry will also work, but they don’t assay all of the genetic polymorphisms we’re interested in, so you’ll only get a longevity assessment if you use Ancestry. Both tests involve only the use of saliva. If you haven’t used 23andMe or Ancestry yet, you’ll need to order your kits and wait for the results.
- To get this new platform to work, all you have to do is download your raw genetic data on your own computer from 23andMe or Ancestry and drag or copy the file into our API. We will include instructions on how to download and submit your raw data.
- After checking a box on our website that gives us permission to run a specialized search of your DNA, our program will search for genetic polymorphisms associated with longevity and Alzheimer’s Disease and translate the results into language that will be personally relevant and relevant to LE assessments. Results and interpretation appear on your screen instantaneously.
We are not searching for anything else in your genetic record, nor do we save or copy or otherwise use your DNA. In fact, the moment you exit from our platform, the entire record – raw data and results – vanishes from our system. If you want to keep a copy of your results, you’ll need to print the results page or take a picture of it with your mobile device. Please do not exit the results page without saving it since you won’t be able to access it again. We do not save or store the raw data or the results.
Genetic Analysis Example Report
We’ve set this up to compare a couple, but you don’t have to run this on two people at once, nor are you required to upload a photograph or put in your name. We include this as a way for you to definitively distinguish yourself from another person being evaluated.
As a reminder, you will only be able to use this technology free one time.
I’m going to show you the results of the genetic analysis of my wife and I so you can see what a report looks like. These are our real results.
We hope it’s obvious how this technology might be used in various industries, but also how the information can be personally informative to those who have it.
Incidentally – if you don’t like the results, don’t blame me – talk to your parents instead. If you like the results, I’ll be happy to take full credit.
Genetic Status Report
Jay Olshansky — you inherited the FOX03 genotype, which is quite rare. Carriers of this gene have a 50% greater chance of living to ages 90+ relative to the average person in the U.S. This is not a guarantee of a long life and it is not a license to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle, but it is a common genetic attribute of long-lived people. Given the powerful influence of this gene on longevity, it would make sense to plan accordingly.
Sara Olshansky — you did not inherit the FOX03 genotype, which means you are like most people in the U.S. This does not mean you’ll live a shorter life than average, it just means you are not a carrier of one genotype associated with exceptional longevity.
Late Onset Alzheimers Genotype
Jay Olshansky — you inherited the exceptionally rare and highly favorable [e2,e2] genetic variant of APOE. This means you have a significantly lower-than-average chance of developing any form of AD, and carriers of this genetic variant also have a greater than average chance of living a long and healthy life. This is not a guarantee of a long life and healthy life and it is not a license to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle. If paired with positive carrier status for FOX03, it would be wise to plan carefully for a longer than average healthy lifespan. For more information, please go to the National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Fact Sheet.
Sara Olshansky — You inherited the most common favorable [e3,e3] genetic variant of APOE. This means you have a lower-than-average chance of developing any form of AD. This is not a guarantee of a long and healthy life and it is not a license to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle. If paired with positive carrier status for FOX03, it would be wise to plan carefully for a longer than average lifespan. For more information, please go to the National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Fact Sheet.
How Do I Try The Genetic Analysis For Free?
If you’re interested, please email email@example.com, requesting placement on a waitlist for a free single-use access code. Our genetics platform is currently being scaled for global distribution, so for the time being we’re gauging interest and collecting contact information for those that want to test it out. We’ll get back in touch with anyone interested once the free version of the platform is available for testing – which should be soon.
Here is a link to a story that appeared in the Washington Post on January 25th, 2023 on the genetics behind exceptional longevity where I make reference to the forthcoming release of the assessment tool described here.
If you don’t want to know whether you’re a carrier of these genetic polymorphisms, don’t use the free platform I’m making available to you!