OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of genetic factors in diseases of later life.
METHODS: Review of literature relevant to the role of genetic factors in variation of incidence of age-related diseases of later life using Medline, Web of Science, to search publications in English since 1980 and citations found in relevant publications.
RESULTS: The identity of ageing and longevity genes remains unknown despite lively interest in lipoprotein metabolism, genomic instability, oxidative stress, cellular response to damage, inflammatory processes, insulin/IGF1-signalling and Sirtuins. Genes involved in lifespan appear remarkably conserved across species but genes that convey increased susceptibility to specific age-dependent diseases are not yet identified.
CONCLUSION: Individual differences in rates of ageing and incidence of the common diseases of later life require explanation. The Sirtuins and the field of epigenetics are emerging as potentially informative research priorities. Further research includes the development of biomarkers and a greater understanding of the interaction between genes and the environment. The hypothetical treatment of ageing could retard or prevent age-associated diseases resulting in widespread health, social and economic benefit.
- Age Factors
- Chronic Disease
- Epigenesis, Genetic
- Genetic Predisposition to Disease
- Journal Article