For many years now, studies on genetics have always linked sickness to aging, although there are still many questions that have been left unanswered.
According to a Daily Sabbath report, the interplay of age and susceptibility to illness has been in an exceptional spotlight, especially during this COVID-19 crisis, which has claimed the lives, mostly of older individuals affected by preexisting conditions or the so-called "comorbidities," with a big number of death tolls in nursing homes in several countries.
However, according to the University of Oxford, while the traditional knowledge that people are more likely to fall ill as they get older still holds, their health, generally, for good or bad, is less likely to be impacted by genes as they age.
The research team lead by the university's Gil McVean also said, the genes people inherit from their parents affect their risk for nearly all illnesses, although there is a tendency for such a genetic risk to drop with increasing age.
Health and Age
McVean, together with colleagues, wrote that while new genomic technologies can be employed to predict future risk of disease, the preciseness of such forecasts can be offset by age, gender, and ethnicity.
The study, published in PLOS Genetics, was based on information on around 500,000 British National Health Service or NHS patients, stored in the United Kingdom Biobank, which McVean and team studied to see how genes are affecting an individual's risk of falling ill with common health conditions like hypertension, heart disease, and cancer.
McVean explained that while genetic factors are most essential in identifying whether one will develop a disease early in life, although other factors come dominating risk as one gets older.
How Do Genes Affect Aging?
In 2020, a Verywell Health report said, the DNA may predict more about an individual than the way he looks. Based on the genetic theory of aging, genes and mutations in such genes are accountable for one's lifespan.
According to the genetic theory of aging, lifespan is considerably identified by the genes inherited from a parent.
Based on the theory, an individual's longevity is primarily identified at the moment of conception and is greatly dependent on parents and their genes.
The basis behind such a theory is that the DNA's segments occurring at the end of chromosomes, called telomeres, identify the cell's maximum lifespan.
Telomeres are described as "pieces of junk DNA" at the chromosomes' end, which turns shorter each time a cell splits or divides.
Such telomeres are shorter and shorter, and ultimately, the cells cannot split without losing essential pieces of DNA.
Essentially, some gene mutations are inherited and may reduce lifespan. Nevertheless, they can occur too, after birth, since exposures to toxins, free radicals, and radiation can lead to changes in genes.
In connection to this, gene mutations acquired after birth are known as acquired or somatic gene mutations. According to the Verywell Health report, most of them are not bad for people, and some can even provide benefits.
That's due to the genetic mutations that create generic diversity, which maintains healthy populations. Other mutations, also known as silent mutations, do not affect the body at all.
Related information about genes and longevity is shown on Albert Einstein College of Medicine's YouTube video below:
RELATED ARTICLE: Top 3 Breakthroughs for Healthy Aging
Check out more news and information on Aging in Science Times.