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Mitochondrial genomes and exceptional longevity in a Chinese population: the Rugao longevity study

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Genetic variants of whole mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that predispose to exceptional longevity need to be systematically identified and appraised. Here, we conducted a case-control study with 237 exceptional longevity subjects (aged 95–107) and 444 control subjects (aged 40–69) randomly recruited from a “longevity town”—the city of Rugao in China—to investigate the effects of mtDNA variants on exceptional longevity. We sequenced the entire mtDNA genomes of the 681 subjects using a next-generation platform and employed a complete mtDNA phylogenetic analytical strategy. We identified T3394C as a candidate that counteracts longevity, and we observed a higher load of private nonsynonymous mutations in the COX1 gene predisposing to female longevity. Additionally, for the first time, we identified several variants and new subhaplogroups related to exceptional longevity. Our results provide new clues for genetic mechanisms of longevity and shed light on strategies for evaluating rare mitochondrial variants that underlie complex traits.

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This research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation (31171216), the National Basic Research Program (2012CB944600), the Ministry of Science and Technology (2011BAI09B00), and the Ministry of Health (201002007) of China.

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interests were reported.

Author information

Correspondence to Li Jin or Xiaofeng Wang.

Additional information

Lei Li and Hong-Xiang Zheng contributed equally to this work.

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Li, L., Zheng, H., Liu, Z. et al. Mitochondrial genomes and exceptional longevity in a Chinese population: the Rugao longevity study. AGE 37, 14 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-015-9750-8

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  • Mitochondrial genome
  • Exceptional longevity
  • mtDNA variations
  • Private mutations
  • Subhaplogroups