Can genes change the rate of aging? – The case of the ApoE gene
Imagine that we could alter the rate of aging. The implications would be tremendous for individuals and societies. Our genes hide the mechanisms behind the aging process and the search for genes that alter the rate of aging thus makes sense. Until now, no common gene variant or environmental factor have been found to change the rate of aging in humans. Only one gene has consistently been associated with mortality - the ApolipoproteinE gene. In this study, we will examine how the gene variants of the ApoE gene alter the rate of aging using follow-up data on mortality and a biomarker associated with aging namely mitochondrial DNA content (mtDNA). Our preliminary results suggest that the decline in mtDNA is faster with age for ApoE e4 carriers indicating a more rapid rate of aging for these haplotypes.