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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2009 Jul;64(7):740-4. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glp055. Epub 2009 May 4.

Familial aggregation of survival and late female reproduction.

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Department of Family and Consumer Studies, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 84112, USA.


Women giving birth at advanced reproductive ages in natural fertility conditions have been shown to have superior postmenopausal longevity. It is unknown whether improved survival is more likely among relatives of late-fertile women. This study compares survival past age 50 of men with and without a late-fertile sister in two populations: Utahns born in 1800-1869 identified from the Utah Population Database and Québec residents born in 1670-1750 identified from the Programme de recherche en démographie historique. Male survival was greater for those with, rather than without, a sister reproducing after age 45, particularly among men with at least three sisters (Utah rate ratio [RR] = .801, 95% CI = 0.687-0.940; Quebec RR = .786, 95% CI = 0.664-0.931). Survival of wives was unaffected by whether their husbands had a late-fertile sister, suggesting a weak influence of unmeasured socioenvironmental factors. These results support the hypothesis that late female fertility and slow somatic aging may be promoted by the same genetic variants.

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