Genetics are less important for the elderly: study

A new study suggests that your genetics become less important as you age, adding to the research surrounding how our genetics affects how we age.

Research conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that aging and environment are significantly more important than genetics in modifying the expression profiles of many genes as we age.

“There has been a tremendous amount of work done in the field of human genetics to understand how genes are turned on and off by human genetic variation. Our project was made possible by asks the question, ‘How is that affected by an individual’s age?'” Peter Sudman, one of the study’s co-authors, said in a statement.

“And the first result that we found is that your genetics actually matter less as you get older.”

The study examined the relative effects of genetics, age and environment on the expression patterns of about 20,000 human genes. Gene expression and its levels are known to control many biological processes, including metabolism, hormone levels, and the release of enzymes that help the body heal itself.

The researchers suggest that while genetic makeup is good at predicting gene expression when you’re young, it becomes less beneficial for people over 55.

“Almost all common human diseases are diseases of old age: Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes,” says Sudman.

“What our research is showing is that, actually, as you get older, the genes are less important for your gene expression. And so, perhaps, we need to pay attention to that.” that’s when trying to identify the causes of the diseases of the aging process.”

According to Sudmant, the study also shows that factors other than age and genetics, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, as well as our physical activity levels. Both have indirect effects on the aging process.

Environment accounts for up to a third of the change in gene expression with age.


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