23andMe launches Longevity Survey

DTC personal genomics company 23andMe has just launched a new Longevity Survey that aims to tease out the genetic basis of a long life.

Early studies in longevity were pioneered in the model organism C. elegans, a roundworm. C. elegans is a perfect model system for studying aging. It’s small (1mM in length), it develops from an egg to an adult quickly (2.5 days), and has a short lifespan (2-3 weeks). Coupled with the ability to conduct chemical mutagenesis, it’s relatively easy to look through 1000s of animals with an extended lifespan, and in turn to identify the genes responsible. One of these genes, daf-2, is a receptor tyrosine kinase and the C. elegans insulin/IGF receptor ortholog.

Typical lifespan is about 2-3 weeks. And since you can do chemical mutagenesis, it’s possible to easily look for

You can read more about the survey on 23andme’s blog, The Spittoon.