Saturday 11 July 2020

Living to a ripe old age may be down to your mother, Dutch scientists say

People who live to a ripe old age have their mothers to thank for it, according to new research by Dutch scientists at Leiden University.

Molecular epidemiologist Eline Slagboom and PhD student Niels van den Berg have been monitoring 421 families of which various members lived way beyond the age of 90.

‘A new analysis of these extremely long-lived persons, their siblings, and parents now shows that longevity in these families is passed on mainly through the mother,’ the researchers said in a statement.

An explanation for this, the scientists say, is that these healthy mothers produce healthy babies. The fact that the fathers play no role strengthens the supposition that longevity is linked to mitochondrial dna which, unlike other dna, is only handed down by the mother.

The results bring the ‘holy grail’ of unravelling the secrets of a long life a little nearer, the researchers say.

‘We now know even more precisely whose genes we need to map in order to find out why some people survive into extreme old age but also, and above all, why they age healthily,’ Slagboom said.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.