Sixty Percent of the Time, It Works Every Time ((By Jade))

By ROGER COHEN Published: July 15, 2009, taken from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/opinion/16iht-edcohen.html

I stumbled across this fun article the other day.  The title caught my attention since we had to write about genetics and longevity on a final exam, which was an interesting topic, but without any “real” answer.

And this article embodies that – interesting and fun, but…umm…it doesn’t seem like they’ve got it all figured out.  In fact, I had to laugh at all the playing with numbers: if you analyze 150 gene variants – taken as a whole – you can predict “centenarian-ness” with 77% accuracy (the predictive power was eventually lessened to 60%).  Which is like saying that 77% of the time, or maybe just 60% of the time, you can live to 100 years 100% of the time, if you have the right 150 genes, kind of.

Despite how my tone comes across, I’m not trying to sound cynical.  The people who researched this are much smarter than I am and devoted a heck of a lot of time, money, and passion into this research (I would imagine).  It’s not the results that make me laugh, it’s that elusiveness of figuring out multifactorial traits…no matter how interesting they are.

But if you were really looking to live to 100 – and also figure out the meaning of life – I highly recommend this NY Times piece.  You might just want to be the monkey that lives fast and dies young….and leaves behind a good-looking corpse (OK, sorry, now I’m just typing out Jay-Z lyrics…which is possibly another source for the meaning of life…)

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