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Chance and Causality in Ageing and Longevity


Longevity is not a matter of genes. This is the message that appeared last year in all the newspapers of the world, according to a study due to a joint venture between the statisticians of Ancestry and Calico Life Sciences that has dissected the genealogical trees of 400 million individuals, tracing back generations, and including dates of birth, death, places, and family ties. The genes would have little to do with longevity: in a percentage perhaps even less than 10% [1]. However, this extensive study has analysed the influence of genetics in terms of lifespan, but not in terms of longevity. Longevity may be defined in relative and absolute terms [2]. Longevity, indeed, may be considered a concept country/population specific, since different populations/countries show great variability of their life expectancy, represented by the age reached by 50% of a given population, owing to historical, anthropological, and socio-economic differences. In “absolute” terms, instead, longevity is defined according to the maximum lifespan attained and scientifically validated by human beings on the Earth (Chap. 4). The threshold of exceptional longevity is regarded the canonical age of 100........(abstract is not foresee, so we have uploaded the first part of introduction).