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Design, recruitment, logistics, and data management of the GEHA (Genetics of Healthy Ageing) project

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joanna Collerton, Dr Karen Davies, Emerita Professor Erica Haimes, Emeritus Professor Thomas Kirkwood


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In 2004, the integrated European project GEHA (Genetics of Healthy Ageing) was initiated with the aim of identifying genes involved in healthy ageing and longevity. The first step in the project was the recruitment of more than 2500 pairs of siblings aged 90 years or more together with one younger control person from 15 areas in 11 European countries through a coordinated and standardised effort. A biological sample, preferably a blood sample, was collected from each participant, and basic physical and cognitive measures were obtained together with information about health, life style, and family composition. From 2004 to 2008 a total of 2535 families comprising 5319 nonagenarian siblings were identified and included in the project. In addition, 2548 younger control persons aged 50-75 years were recruited. A total of 2249 complete trios with blood samples from at least two old siblings and the younger control were formed and are available for genetic analyses (e.g. linkage studies and genome-wide association studies). Mortality follow-up improves the possibility of identifying families with the most extreme longevity phenotypes. With a mean follow-up time of 3.7 years the number of families with all participating siblings aged 95 years or more has increased by a factor of 5 to 750 families compared to when interviews were conducted. Thus, the GEHA project represents a unique source in the search for genes related to healthy ageing and longevity. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Collerton JC; Haimes E; Kirkwood TBL; Davies K; Skytthe A; Valensin S; Jeune B; Cevenini E; Balard F; Beekman M; Bezrukov V; Blanche H; Bolund L; Broczek K; Carru C; Christensen K; Christiansen L; Cotichini R; de Craen AJM; Dato S; De Benedictis G; Deiana L; Flachsbart F; Gampe J; Gilbault C; Gonos ES; Hervonen A; Hurme MA; Janiszewska D; Jylha M; Kristensen P; Laiho P; Leon A; Marchisio A; Masciulli R; Nebel A; Passarino G; Pelicci G; Peltonen L; Perola M; Poulain M; Rea IM; Remade J; Robine JM; Schreiber S; Scurti M; Sevini F; Sikora E; Skouteri A; Slagboom PE; Spazzafumo L; Stazi MA; Toccaceli V; Toussaint O; Tornwall O; Vaupel JW; Voutetakis K; Franceschi C; GEHA Consortium

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Gerontology

Year: 2011

Volume: 46

Issue: 11

Pages: 934-945

Print publication date: 16/08/2011

ISSN (print): 0531-5565

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6815

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2011.08.005


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Funder referenceFunder name
Academy of Finland (Tampere)
Fondation Caisse d'Epargne Rhone-Alpes Lyon CERAL
Tampere University Hospital
UK NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
Centre for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB)
Institute for Ageing and Health
Regione Autonoma della Sardegna (Sassari)
LSHM-CT-2004-503-270EU GEHA
NCHA 05060810National Institute for Healthy Ageing
PO1-AG08761United States National Institute of Aging
Senter-Novem IGE05007Innovation Oriented Research Program on Genomics