Reaching the century mark could be genetic

While the benefits of a healthy lifestyle certainly contribute to extending one's life expectancy, The Associated Press reports that researchers are finding that genetics may play a large role as well.

The team's lead researcher, Thomas T Perls, said that tests could be helpful in predicting who might be at risk for certain age-related illnesses. The study was conducted by looking at the genomes of 1,500 Caucasians between 100 and 110 years of age and then comparing them with younger individuals.

Reaching the century mark could be genetic The results found that the researchers could tell which genes belonged to people at least 100 years old 77 percent of the time.

"Seventy-seven percent is very high accuracy for a genetic model," Sebastiani told the news source. "But 23 percent error rate also shows there is a lot that remains to be discovered."

The results could be especially important given the fact that the number of people reaching the 100-year-mark is growing. According to the New York Daily News, there are more than 340,000 centenarians worldwide and some experts estimate that by 2050 there will be as many as six million.

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