If you would live long, choose your parents well

Trends Genet. 2001 May;17(5):233-5. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(01)02306-x.


Human longevity appears to have a modest but significant heritable component. A recent study in Iceland has added to this evidence by making a unique assessment based on records for an entire population. Although the evidence for inheritance of human lifespans appears robust, there remains considerable uncertainty about the extent of the genetic versus the nongenetic contribution and about the importance of gene-environment interactions. Sex-specific patterns of transmission of lifespan between parents and offspring might provide clues to the basis of lifespan heritability, but the reported patterns are neither conclusive nor consistent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Female
  • Genomic Imprinting / genetics
  • Humans
  • Iceland
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Phenotype