Geneticists have found that Amish people in Indiana often have a rare mutation that lowers the risk of developing diabetes and increases life expectancy by 10 years.
Scientists have sequenced the genome of 177 members of the Amish community in Burn, Indiana, and 43 of them have found a combination of normal and mutant Serpine1 gene. People with mutant Serpine1 lived on average 10 years longer than carriers of a normal copy of the gene, and the average life expectancy for carriers of the mutant gene was 85 years.
The Serpine1 gene encodes the PAI-1 protein, an inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator, a protein that is involved in the destruction of blood clots. But PAI-1 also has another function: it regulates the slowing down of cellular metabolism. This process is considered one of the main manifestations of aging in the body. Previous experiments on animals have shown that the less PAI-1 in the body, the slower aging occurs and the less frequent age-related diseases develop, but these effects have not previously been observed in humans. The Indiana Amish are the only known carriers of a mutation that inhibits PAI-1 production.
Tests taken from Amish Indiana have shown that a mutation in one Serpine1 gene reduces the concentration of PAI-1 in the blood by 50%. In addition, the presence of the mutation is associated with leukocyte chromosome telomere lengthening. Telomeres are the end sections of chromosomes, the length of which determines the number of cell divisions. Telomeres in eukaryotic cells shorten with age. Short telomeres are not able to protect the chromosome from external influences, therefore, with each new division, cells become more susceptible to mutations.
Amish - representatives of the Christian religious movement, close to Anabaptism and formed at the end of the 17th century; almost all modern Amish are descendants of a small group of founders of the current. They live in isolated groups, marry only other Amish, among them, marriages between relatives are not uncommon. Following a tradition of isolation for over 300 years, the Amish have formed a genetically isolated population. Today there are about 200 thousand Amish in the world.
The research is published in the journal Science Advances.