Heritability of human lifespan is 23-33% as evident from twin studies. Genome-wide association studies explored this question by linking particular alleles to lifespan traits. However, genetic variants identified so far can explain only a small fraction of lifespan heritability in humans. Here, we report that the burden of rarest protein-truncating variants (PTVs) in two large cohorts is negatively associated with human healthspan and lifespan, accounting for 0.4 and 1.3 years of their variability, respectively. In addition, longer-living individuals possess both fewer rarest PTVs and less damaging PTVs. We further find that somatic accumulation of PTVs accounts for only a small fraction of mortality and morbidity acceleration and hence is unlikely to be causal in aging. We conclude that rare damaging mutations, both inherited and accumulated throughout life, contribute to the aging process, and that burden of ultra-rare variants in combination with common alleles better explain apparent heritability of human lifespan.
- Vadim N Gladyshev
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Deidentified exome sequences were analyzed
- Sara Hagg, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
- Received: November 8, 2019
- Accepted: March 20, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: April 7, 2020 (version 1)
© 2020, Shindyapina et al.
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