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Approved research

Uncover protective rare variants in aging pathways against age-related diseases

Principal Investigator: Professor Zhengdong Zhang
Approved Research ID: 57808
Approval date: May 5th 2020

Lay summary

rationale, project duration and public health impact (up to 5000 characters or 400 words): In most developed countries, the number of old people (aged 65 years and over) has been increasing in decades and will continue to account for a substantial proportion of world-wide population in the future. In general, people aged over 65 have dramatically increased rates of age-related diseases, such as cancers and heart diseases, with increasing age. However, centenarians are individuals that have a longer healthspan and are known to have special genetic makeup. Therefore, identifying genetic factors from centenarians for their healthy aging has enormous potential medical values for uncovering mechanisms of protecting elders from age-related diseases. In our previous genetic analyses of a centenarian cohort in Ashkenazi Jews, we identified a burden of longevity-associated rare variants aggregated in pathways known to control increase lifespan in model organisms and have demonstrated clear contribution of those protective rare variants to individual lifespan in our centenarian cohort. The aims of this research project are to confirm our finding at population level and to understand the protective effects underlying our finding by analyzing the rich data of individual health profiles in UK-biobank. We plan to accomplish these goals in three years. We expect this project will generate valuable information for potential mechanisms and drug targets against age-related disease, which can greatly benefit public health especially elders.