For the lucky carriers of the 'Methuselah' genes, worries over smoking, eating unhealthily and not getting enough exercise may not be as prevalent as those of us without the rare DNA pattern.
Research into the genetic make-up of centenarians, nonagenarians and their families unearthed the tiny mutation which scientists believe give extra protection against the diseases of old age as well as protecting against the effects of the unhealthy lifestyles we believe will lead us to an early grave.
The carriers are thought to be protected against the effects of smoking and bad diet and the onset of age-related illnesses such as cancer and heart disease can be delayed by up to three decades.
The study shows that it is a combination of genes rather than one gene that guarantees a long life, though they are extremely rare with only one person in 10,000 reaching the age of 100.
Eline Slagboom of Leiden University, who is leading a study into 3,500 Dutch nonagenarians, recently published studies showing how the physiology of people in long-lived families differs from normal people.
She said: 'People who live to be a great age metabolise fat and glucose differently, their skin ages more slowly and they have lower prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
'The factors are all under strong genetic control, so we see the very same features in the children of very old people.'Did you like this post? Leave your comments below! Found this Post interesting? Receive new posts via RSS (What is RSS?) or Subscribe to CR by Email