Research Papers: Gerotarget (Focus on Aging):

Non-coding genomic regions possessing enhancer and silencer potential are associated with healthy aging and exceptional survival

Sangkyu Kim _, David A. Welsh, Leann Myers, Katie E. Cherry, Jennifer Wyckoff and S. Michal Jazwinski

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:3600-3612. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2877

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Sangkyu Kim1, David A. Welsh2, Leann Myers3, Katie E. Cherry4, Jennifer Wyckoff1, S. Michal Jazwinski1

1Tulane Center for Aging and Department of Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

2Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

3Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

4Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA

Correspondence to:

Sangkyu Kim, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: aging, frailty, longevity, linkage, association, non-coding

Received: November 11, 2014     Accepted: December 8, 2014     Published: February 28, 2015


We have completed a genome-wide linkage scan for healthy aging using data collected from a family study, followed by fine-mapping by association in a separate population, the first such attempt reported. The family cohort consisted of parents of age 90 or above and their children ranging in age from 50 to 80. As a quantitative measure of healthy aging, we used a frailty index, called FI34, based on 34 health and function variables. The linkage scan found a single significant linkage peak on chromosome 12. Using an independent cohort of unrelated nonagenarians, we carried out a fine-scale association mapping of the region suggestive of linkage and identified three sites associated with healthy aging. These healthy-aging sites (HASs) are located in intergenic regions at 12q13–14. HAS-1 has been previously associated with multiple diseases, and an enhancer was recently mapped and experimentally validated within the site. HAS-2 is a previously uncharacterized site possessing genomic features suggestive of enhancer activity. HAS-3 contains features associated with Polycomb repression. The HASs also contain variants associated with exceptional longevity, based on a separate analysis. Our results provide insight into functional genomic networks involving non-coding regulatory elements that are involved in healthy aging and longevity.

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