No doubt, various companies will start marketing genetic tests claiming to predict how long one is going to live, but such tests are definitely not ready for prime time, Perls said.
"I think a lot of study needs to be done as to what guidance physicians and health-care providers can give to individuals as to what they do with this information," Perls said. In particular, there could be implications from an insurance point of view.
Twenty-three percent of people who didn't have one of these genetic signatures went on to live to 100, he pointed out, and having bad genes doesn't mean you don't have other good genes that would trump them.
The authors, who said they have no financial interests in the research, are setting up a web site where people who already know their genetic code can compute their longevity. It will be available through the New England Centenarian Study web site.
The New England Centenarian Study has more on the secrets of long life.
SOURCES: Robert Marion, M.D., chief, genetics and development medicine, and director, Center for Congenital Disorders, Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; June 30, 2010, teleconference with: Paola Sebastiani, Ph.D., professor, biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, and Tom Perls, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, medicine, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center; July 2, 2010, Science
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