Death of Queen Elizabeth II: Can genetics explain her longevity? – Science and life


A longevity from mother to daughter: how can we explain it? In the royal family, this longevity seems to be passed down from mother to daughter. While her mother, affectionately known as “Queen Mum”, died on March 30, 2002 at the age of 101, Queen Elizabeth II of England left her country for good at the relatively advanced age of 96 years She remains, for many of these subjects, the only sovereign they have ever known. This little piece of woman with an extraordinary destiny was not destined to reign. His father, King George VI, ascended the throne after the abdication of his brother Edward VIII following his 1936 marriage to Wallis Simpson. However, the one that met 15 prime ministers profoundly changed the course of history due to its influential, albeit prestigious, role. But what can explain this longevity? Let’s say it right away: there is no such thing as a longevity gene. On the other hand, in a study published in Genome Research, researchers have just highlighted a group of genes likely to extend human life. Led by a team of scientists from University College London (UCL), this study suggests that a group of genes could extend lifespan: Pol I and Pol III. The Pol I gene codes for the synthesis of a subunit involved in the manufacture of the DNA polymerase enzyme. This enzyme is involved in DNA replication that occurs during cell division. Its role does not stop there, as it also intervenes in the repair of DNA when it is subjected to damage. The Pol III gene codes for the synthesis of another enzyme called RNA polymerase III that participates in the transcription of DNA into RNA within the cell nucleus. Pol III specifically encodes 5S ribosomal RNA and other small non-coding RNAs. >> Read also: Can we stay young thanks to our diet? Genes that extend life if inhibited Title: DNA polymerase is an enzyme that replicates DNA and repairs it. Source: picmedical/Shutterstock In reality, these genes do not guarantee greater longevity when they are active, but when they are inhibited. A few years ago, scientists had already shown that this group of genes could increase the useful life by 10% of certain small organisms such as fruit flies. Researchers at University College London have found that these genes increase longevity in small organisms such as yeast and worms through an inhibitory effect. In humans, stopping the Pol I and Pol III genes from working also extends life, but causes diseases linked to developmental disorders known as ribomopathies. For this research, scientists worked on a panel of more than 11,000 people whose lifespans were exceptionally long. They found that people whose activity of these Pol I and Pol III genes is reduced, but not completely shut down, tend to live longer. The team of scientists discovered that the functioning of these genes is actually particularly useful at the beginning of life when the organism needs to grow and until the beginning of adulthood for reproduction. However, at the end of life, these genes are no longer useful. >> Read also: What explains women’s longevity? Can genetics alone determine longevity? It would be too restrictive to think that the longevity of human life is linked solely to genetics. The length of a person’s life is influenced by genetics, but also by the environment in which that person lives and their mode of existence. At the beginning of the 20th century, living conditions in our countries improved greatly. Improved food availability, access to clean water, healthier housing and less exposure to infectious diseases have dramatically increased lifespans. Medical advances have dramatically reduced infant mortality and prevented the transmission and spread of infectious diseases. Currently in France, life expectancy is estimated at 85.6 years for women and 79.7 years for men. Life expectancy is constantly increasing and the number of centenarians will undoubtedly increase in the coming years. Numerous studies have also shown that these long-lived people have a lot in common in terms of lifestyle: many of them have never smoked and consume very little or no alcohol. Most often, they do not experience weight problems and are not prone to excessive stress. These good lifestyle habits allow these people to protect themselves from age-related health problems, chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. >> Also Read: Do Optimists Really Live Longer? What science has to say… Source: Sara Javidnia, Stephen Cranwell, Stefanie H. Mueller, Colin Selman, Jennifer MA Tullet, Karoline Kuchenbaecker, Nazif Alic, “Mendelian randomization analyzes implicate the biogenesis of the translation machinery in human aging”, Genome Research, 2022,

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