The retardation of aging and diseases by caloric restriction (CR) is a widely-studied and robust phenomenon. Recent publications describe transgenic and other mutant rodents displaying lifespan extension, and the rapid pace at which these animals are being generated raises the possibility that the importance of the CR paradigm is declining. Here we discuss these models and evaluate the evidence whether or not the aging process is retarded based on longevity, disease patterns and age-associated biological changes. A comparison to rodents on CR is made. Because CR has been investigated for approximately 70 years with increasing intensity, there exists extensive data to document aging retardation. In contrast, for nearly all of the genetically abnormal models of lifespan extension, such data are minimal and often unconvincing; additional studies will be required to validate these strains as suitable models for aging research.