If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!


review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

Why Italians Live So Long

Friday, August 05, 2011

We just returned from a long trip through Italy and were struck by Italians' apparent immunity to all the forces of aging that besiege Americans and other members of the First World. "Italian men," said Paolo, our driver, "smoke, drink, womanize and curse all day and live to a hundred." Maybe the answers why are in this new report on Italian longevity.

The genetic component of human longevity: analysis of the survival advantage of parents and siblings of Italian nonagenarians

Alberto Montesanto1, Valeria Latorre1, Marco Giordano1, Cinzia Martino1, Filippo Domma2 and Giuseppe Passarino1

  1. 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy
  2. 2Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy

Correspondence: Professor G Passarino, Department of Cell Biology, University of Calabria, 87036, Rende, Italy. Tel: +39 0984 492932; Fax: +39 0984 492911; E-mail: g.passarino@unical.it

European Journal of Human Genetics (2011) 19, 882–886; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.40; published online 16 March 2011


Many epidemiological studies have shown that parents, siblings and offspring of long-lived subjects have a significant survival advantage when compared with the general population. However, how much of this reported advantage is due to common genetic factors or to a shared environment remains to be resolved.

We reconstructed 202 families of nonagenarians from a population of southern Italy. To estimate the familiarity of human longevity, we compared survival data of parents and siblings of long-lived subjects to that of appropriate Italian birth cohorts. Then, to estimate the genetic component of longevity while minimizing the variability due to environment factors, we compared the survival functions of nonagenarians' siblings with those of their spouses (intrafamily control group).

We found that both parents and siblings of the probands had a significant survival advantage over their Italian birth cohort counterparts. On the other hand, although a substantial survival advantage was observed in male siblings of probands with respect to the male intrafamily control group, female siblings did not show a similar advantage. In addition, we observed that the presence of a male nonagenarians in a family significantly decreased the instant mortality rate throughout lifetime for all the siblings; in the case of a female nonagenarians such an advantage persisted only for her male siblings.

The methodological approach used here allowed us to distinguish the effects of environmental and genetic factors on human longevity. Our results suggest that genetic factors in males have a higher impact than in females on attaining longevity.


seema commented on 09-Aug-2011 07:41 AM


Wendy Cunningham commented on 17-Nov-2011 10:01 PM

I think that is very interesting. I am 1/8 Italian from my mom's side of the family. My mom's mother was 1/2 Italian. Her name was Mildred Florence Muccia. She was born on Nov 12 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was Italian. His name was Peter Muccia.
The mother was Miriam Bansley. Both were from New York. I do not know much about them. But I would love to find their living relatives if only I knew where they are at! I am 48 but people mistake me for 29 years old. It's true that I look very young for my
age. I happen to be very healthy. I was told by a palmist that I will live a long time. I guess the researchers are right about our Italian dna carrying the genes of longivity. I hope my Mom will live for a long time. She is 71 now.

Paul commented on 28-Apr-2012 08:00 PM

Well it seems my Italian side got the short end of that stick. The oldest was my grandmother at 91 - but she was several years with Alzheimer's. My uncle just died at 84. Other than that, no others made it to the 80s. My dad was 66.

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.

Captcha Image

Recent Posts


private allele Melungeon Union corn Michael Grant microsatellites human migrations Rush Limbaugh breast cancer haplogroup C Stephen Oppenheimer Science magazine DNA testing companies mutation rate Patrick Henry Sinaloa ethnic markers ethics hominids Elvis Presley DNA Monya Baker Melungeon Heritage Association Neolithic Revolution surnames admixture Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies crypto-Jews Bentley surname research Leicester Micmac Indians religion Richard Dewhurst Kitty Prince of the Bear River Athabaskans genomics labs Jack Goins China Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis William Byrd Majorca Puerto Rico Joseph Jacobs polydactylism Panther's Lodge Chris Stringer Nancy Gentry Ancestry.com Anglo-Saxons Cleopatra Life Technologies Karenn Worstell Central Band of Cherokees Marija Gimbutas Anacostia Indians GlobalFiler Louis XVI Colin Pitchfork Jewish GenWeb Discover magazine immunology Elizabeth DeLand population isolates Colima Nature Communications Wendell Paulson Great Goddess Belgium Barack Obama Horatio Cushman Washington D.C. Chauvet cave paintings Clovis Turkic DNA genetic memory North African DNA Sonora Virginia genealogy Bulgaria Carl Zimmer India Melanesians Jon Entine Telltown Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma DNA Diagnostics Center Chris Tyler-Smith New Mexico Beringia megapopulations African DNA 23andme cannibalism Comanche Indians Scotland Arabic Waynesboro Pennsylvania Russia AP Bering Land Bridge Akhenaten Joel E. Harris Promega James Stritzel Douglas Owsley Cherokee DNA X chromosome Valparaiso University Columbia University Paleolithic Age Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute genealogy Wales American Journal of Human Genetics Old World Roots of the Cherokee Pueblo Grande Museum art history Isabel Allende Kari Carpenter Jone Entine Grim Sleeper single nucleotide polymorphism Bryan Sykes Henry VII climate change INORA Romania National Geographic Daily News PNAS Cohen Modal Haplotype London BBCNews Helladic art Khoisan Richard III medicine Gila River prehistoric art haplogroup T Antonio Torroni Normans Navajo powwows Pima Indians rock art James Shoemaker Melba Ketchum Y chromosomal haplogroups Stacy Schiff linguistics Britain university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Phillipe Charlier HapMap Chuetas Peter Parham Europe Germany bloviators Indian Territory B'nai Abraham Gregory Mendel Wendy Roth George Starr-Bresette First Peoples haplogroup W DNA security Rafael Falk Stony Creek Baptist Church El Castillo cave paintings French Canadians education Fritz Zimmerman Tintagel John Wilwol haplogroup J England Gravettian culture Mucogee Creeks Michael Schwartz Terry Gross Hertfordshire FDA oncology methylation haplogroup B Panther's Lodge Publishers European DNA Melungeons race horizontal inheritance Native American DNA Old Souls in a New World Barnard College Secret History of the Cherokee Indians Miguel Gonzalez Ashkenazi Jews clinical chemistry haplogroup H New York Times Zuni Indians Israel Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama Richmond California Henry IV Alec Jeffreys human leukocyte antigens Central Band of Cherokee Daily News and Analysis palatal tori autosomal DNA Cajuns mental foramen Irish DNA Cherokee DNA Project anthropology alleles Sinti Scientific American Middle Eastern DNA Cherokee Freedmen Sizemore surname Kentucky Teresa Panther-Yates Bryony Jones Lab Corp Maronites Israel, Shlomo Sand statistics John Ruskamp IntegenX Discovery Channel Thuya Zionism Hohokam Stone Age Irish history genetic determinism Bill Tiffee Rutgers University Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America andrew solomon Y chromosome DNA Slovakia Hawaii Albert Einstein College of Medicine Dienekes Anthropology Blog Moundbuilders Mary Kugler Philippa Langley mitochondrial DNA Magdalenian culture Mark Stoneking Pomponia Graecina Peter Martyr Greeks Black Irish Mary Settegast DNA Forums Native American DNA Test Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman pheromones Holocaust Database seafaring Asiatic Fathers of America Cornwall National Museum of Natural History Russell Belk Charles Darwin Havasupai Indians Jews Tutankamun DNA magazine Ethel Cox Nayarit Penny Ferguson Sam Kean personal genomics King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales Rare Genes Amy Harmon Kennewick Man Early Jews of England and Wales North Carolina haplogroup U Charlotte Harris Reese Sir Joshua Reynolds MHC FOX News clan symbols Les Miserables Arizona State University Henriette Mertz Anne Marie Fine Celts Holocaust health and medicine Salt River haplogroup E Bigfoot David Cornish Harold Goodwin Maya Arizona epigenetics occipital bun genetics Sea Peoples Maui University of Leicester Abenaki Indians Hispanic ancestry Mark Thomas Bode Technology Nikola Tesla haplogroup N Bureau of Indian Affairs Theodore Steinberg phenotype ISOGG Asian DNA Texas A&M University District of Columbia EURO DNA Fingerprint Test Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology Indo-Europeans Solutreans Cree Indians Jesse Montes Constantine Rafinesque N. Brent Kennedy New York Review of Books Jewish genetics Richard Buckley metis Kari Schroeder Cismar history of science Khazars peopling of the Americas DNA Fingerprint Test Ron Janke Colin Renfrew familial Mediterranean fever Sarmatians ancient DNA The Nation magazine Taino Indians Johnny Depp French DNA Zizmer Mother Qualla Wikipedia Hohokam Indians Robinson Crusoe Iran far from the tree Sizemore Indians Austro-Hungary Olmec King Arthur Ananya Mandal Genome Sciences Building mummies Finnish people archeology consanguinity Sasquatch aliyah Ireland Applied Epistemology Monica Sanowar George van der Merwede Smithsonian Magazine Juanita Sims FBI Phoenicians Neanderthals Yates surname Richard Lewontin Sorbs Jalisco Tom Martin Scroft Nova Scotia Cooper surname cancer Tifaneg evolution DNA Fingerprint Test Ziesmer, Zizmor haplogroup R Navajo Indians Mildred Gentry Anasazi Dragging Canoe Harry Ostrer Erika Chek Hayden Asiatic Echoes Abraham Lincoln Family Tree DNA Ostenaco Jim Bentley bar mitzvah Jan Ravenspirit Franz research John Butler Population genetics Gunnar Thompson gedmatch Jewish novelists Muslims in American history Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) Altai Turks American history Mexico Elizabeth C. Hirschman Oxford Nanopore human leukocyte testing Pueblo Indians CODIS markers Arabia Riane Eisler BATWING Kurgan Culture Nadia Abu El-Haj Brian Wilkes forensics Daniel Defoe Patagonia Italy Phyllis Starnes Plato Donald N. Yates Svante Paabo origins of art Tucson Patrick Pynes myths Lithuania rapid DNA testing Anne C. Stone Walter Plecker New York Academy of Sciences Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America haplogroup D Cave art Gypsies Joseph Andrew Park Wilson Virginia DeMarce Roberta Estes Basques haplogroup M Hopi Indians Kate Wong haplogroup L family history Melungeon Movement Douglas Preston Cismaru Egyptians Eske Willerslev NPR haplogroup Z haplogroup X Elzina Grimwood Shlomo Sand Freemont Indians Genex Diagnostics Luca Pagani Alabama ethnicity Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid Phoenix Victor Hugo pipe carving Michoacan Caucasian Douglas C. Wallace population genetics Oxford Journal of Evolution Etruscans Eric Wayner Current Anthropology Choctaw Indians Janet Lewis Crain Keros Denisovans Ukraine Ripan Malhi National Health Laboratories Harold Sterling Gladwin Bradshaw Foundation Charles Perou Epigraphic Society hoaxes Mohawk ged.com Cancer Genome Atlas Satoshi Horai DNA databases Stan Steiner prehistory Ari Plost Lebanon ENFSI Acadians giants Black Dutch Odessa Shields Cox Thruston Tablet Marie Cheng Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Jewish contribution to world literature Nature Genetics news M. J. Harper When Scotland Was Jewish Rich Crankshaw Timothy Bestor Smithsonian Institution Middle Ages Algonquian Indians Irish Central Tennessee Rebecca L. Cann Roma People