Healthy aging is a complex phenotype, and genetic factors that contribute to long term good health are not well understood. Longevity and health are associated with lifestyle choices. Behaviour is governed by personality; therefore, variation in personality-related genes may affect healthy aging. Five candidate genes involved in the physiology of personality and personality disorders were identified from the literature: COMT, DRD4, MAOA, SLC6A4, and TH. Single nucleotide polymorphisms and variable number of random repeat polymorphisms were genotyped in DNA from 493 European-ancestry healthy oldest-old and 431 European-ancestry middle-aged controls. Tests for allelic associations were conducted, with stratification by sex. No associations remained significant after correction for multiple tests. Variants tested in these candidate genes were not associated with long-term good health in this sample. Either genetic variation in these genes does not influence healthy aging, or true effects exist that are too small to be detected in this study.
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Thesis advisor: Brooks-Wilson, Angela
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