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One of the biggest challenges of scientists is to discover the genetic structure that allows some people to live more than 110 years. In a multicentric effort that involved the Institute for Systems Biology, the Gerontology Research Group, Stanford University and the University of California Los Angeles, came a clue.

A genetic variant was identified that in spite of being considered highly pathogenic, it did not cause any disease in the individual bearing it. The discovery led the American College of Medical Genetics to tell scientists to report if any other cases are located.

The study consisted in performing a complete DNA sequencing of all 17 participants to identify possible rare variations in proteins, which could explain advanced age. The results ultimately showed no significant evidence of a single cause for extreme longevity. It was in only one of these volunteers that the highly pathogenic variant was found.

Data from the study, which includes the DNA sequences and list of rare variants that alter the protein of the 17 supercentenarians is now available for future research on extreme longevity.

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