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


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