A genome-wide association study of aging
Human longevity and healthy aging show moderate heritability (20%-50%). We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies from 9 studies from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium for 2 outcomes: (1) all-cause mortality, and (2) survival free of major disease or death. No single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was a genome-wide significant predictor of either outcome (p < 5 × 10-8). We found 14 independent SNPs that predicted risk of death, and 8 SNPs that predicted event-free survival (p < 10-5). These SNPs are in or near genes that are highly expressed in the brain (HECW2, HIP1, BIN2, GRIA1), genes involved in neural development and function (KCNQ4, LMO4, GRIA1, NETO1) and autophagy (ATG4C), and genes that are associated with risk of various diseases including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to considerable overlap between the traits, pathway and network analysis corroborated these findings. These findings indicate that variation in genes involved in neurological processes may be an important factor in regulating aging free of major disease and achieving longevity.