Genetic Factors Associated with Individual Life Duration: Heritability

  • Kaare Christensen
  • Anne Maria Herskind
Part of the International Studies in Population book series (ISIP, volume 4)

Lifespans cluster to some degree in families, and in recent years long-lived families have become the focus of many research efforts aiming at understanding the underlying aetiology for the variation in lifespan. Socioeconomic status is clearly associated with lifespan, but genetic factors are also believed to play a substantial role. Heritability is a useful estimate of the overall influence of genetic factors in a population. This chapter will cover the formal definition of heritability, describe design options to obtain heritability estimates, and summarize estimates of the heritability of various measures of human life duration such as lifespan per se, early and late death, and age-specific susceptibility to death (‘frailty’).

Keywords

Covariance Recombination 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaare Christensen
    • 1
  • Anne Maria Herskind
    • 2
  1. 1.The Danish Twin Registry, Epidemiology, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkDenmark
  2. 2.Odense University HospitalDenmark

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