The Forward 50

Nir Barzilai

Nir Barzilai

Science

The key to longevity may have less to do with lifestyle than with the predetermined makeup of your genes. That’s what Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has found in his Longevity Genes Project by studying Ashkenazi Jews who have lived into their 90s and 100s.

This year, Barzilai and his colleagues reported that Jews who live past 95 have dietary habits, levels of alcohol consumption and physical activity similar to their shorter-lived counterparts — suggesting that genes for exceptional longevity could play a greater role than behavior in supporting long life. He had previously found that Jewish centenarians and their offspring are more protected from age-related diseases like cancer. In late October, the Israeli-born Barzilai was tapped to help lead a newly formed centenarian consortium for the Archon Genomics X Prize. The $10 million competition, which will start in 2013, challenges scientists to sequence the complete genomes of 100 healthy centenarians in 30 days. Barzilai will help identify and collect the 100 centenarian genomes to be sequenced, the Associated Press reported.

“By sequencing the genomes of these healthy centenarians — and making the results available to scientists — this contest will be a powerful tool in helping us decode the genetic underpinnings of healthy aging, and develop drugs that can mimic the protections these individuals have,” he said.

Plus One

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, the Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.