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Ageing Res Rev. 2006 Nov;5(4):371-87. Epub 2005 Dec 6.

Design and analysis in genetic studies of human ageing and longevity.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Genetics, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.


With the success of the Human Genome Project and taking advantage of the recent developments in high-throughput genotyping techniques as well as in functional genomics, it is now feasible to collect vast quantities of genetic data with the aim of deciphering the genetics of human complex traits. As a result, the amount of research on human ageing and longevity has been growing rapidly in recent years. The situation raises questions concerning efficient choice of study population, sampling schemes, and methods of data analysis. In this article, we summarize the key issues in genetic studies of human ageing and longevity ranging from research design to statistical analyses. We discuss the virtues and drawbacks of the multidisciplinary approaches including the population-based cross-sectional and cohort studies, family-based linkage analysis, and functional genomics studies. Different analytical approaches are illustrated with their performances compared. In addition, important research topics are highlighted together with experiment design and data analyzing issues to serve as references for future studies.

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