Scientists have been on an unending quest for the secret of longer lives, and they might have finally found out where to find it. They discovered that the members of the secluded community of Amish lived about 10 years longer than other people. The secret might be lying a gene mutation that these people possess.
Amish people have a genetic mutation which disables the function of a gene
The Amish are a Christian community that lives a simple life away from crowded cities. They are well-known for being reluctant to adopt new things, and are against the use of modern technology. This lifestyle might not be as bad as it sounds, as it might hold the key to a longer life.
Researchers from Northwestern University decided to develop a study on such a community, the Old Order Amish. This group of people lives in Berne, Indiana, in an area where they are isolated from interacting with other humans, both socially and genetically.
This disabled gene usually speeds up cell death and the shortening of telomeres
After performing a genetic analysis on all the members of the community, they discovered a genetic mutation present in 177 people. The gene SERPINE1 didn’t function properly. However, this isn’t something bad, as the gene produces a protein which speeds up the death of cells and damages the telomeres.
These telomeres are important, as they keep the DNA from being destroyed. However, as time passes, this protective layer gets damaged, so our cells start aging. Therefore, preserving the telomeres intact for a longer period of time helped the Amish men live longer.
From the 177 people with the genetic mutation, 43 were men. Researchers revealed these men had telomeres longer by about 10 percent, which granted them 10 more years of life than the average lifespan. This discovery can have an impact on other populations as well, since knowing a way to defeat aging might help the researchers find new therapies which target genes.