Year of publication:
Journal title abbreviated:
EUR J HUM GENET
Journal title long:
European journal of human genetics
The gene tyrosine hydroxylase 1 (TH01) has been suggested as a candidate for human longevity. A previous study has shown an association between longevity and specific alleles of the TH01 short tandem repeat (STR) polymorphism in an Italian population. This STR locus is also widely used in forensic genetics. If the TH01-longevity association could be confirmed in independent samples, this finding would have important ramifications for the use of this polymorphism in a forensic context. In the present study, we sought to replicate the previous association result by investigating 471 long-lived individuals (96-110 years) and 462 younger controls (19-75 years) from Germany. In the analyzed samples, the association between TH01 and longevity was not replicated. However, the obtained TH01 allele frequencies were consistent with published data. We observed considerable differences in the allele distribution between Germans and Italians, in particular with regard to allele 9.3, which displayed a previously undetected decreasing West-East and North-South cline across Europe. The discrepant TH01-longevity association results in Germans and Italians could therefore be due to population-specific effects. This finding highlights the need to take into consideration population genetic data when dealing with association studies.