Genetic Finding May Provide a Test for Longevity Genetic Finding May Provide Test for Longevity - NYTimes.com Scientists studying the genomes of centenarians in New England say they have identified a set of genetic variants that predicts extreme longevity with 77 percent accuracy. The centenarians had just as many disease-associated variants as shorter-lived mortals, so their special inheritance must be genes that protect against disease, said the authors of the study, a team led by Paola Sebastiani and Thomas T. Perls of Boston University. Their report appears in Thursday’s issue of Science. The finding, if confirmed, would complicate proposals for predicting someone’s liability to disease based on disease-causing variants in the person’s genome, since much would depend on whether or not an individual possessed protective genes as well. Dr. Perls said at a press conference Wednesday that there were about 80,000 centenarians alive at any one time in the United States. Some 15 percent of his control group, and presumably of the population at large, have the potential to live to be 100, according to the test based on the 150 variants. But they fail to attain that age because of accidents or unhealthy living, he said.