• Harshman, Lawrence G (PI)
  • Lane, David (PI)
  • Louis, Thomas (PI)
  • Johnson, Thomas E. (PI)
  • Roach, Deborah (PI)
  • Yashin, Anatoliy (PI)
  • Longo, Walter (PI)
  • Zeng, Yi (PI)
  • Roach, Deborah (PI)
  • Carey, James R. (PI)
  • Manton, Kenneth (PI)
  • Curtsinger, James (PI)
  • Carey, James (PI)
  • Vaupel, James (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


How long will we live? The major biomedical uncertainty in
forecasting life expectancy in the middle term from, say, twenty
to eighty years from now arises from an unsettled controversy
concerning: -- whether genetic factors limit human life expectancy to perhaps
85 years or so, or
-- whether progress can be made in reducing mortality rates at all
ages including advanced ages, such that life expectancy can
increase to a century or more. The central aim of this program project is address this controversy
by compiling and analyzing reliable data (Projects 1 - 4), by
refining and developing appropriate statistical methods for this
substantive research (Statistical Development Core), and by
systematically structuring the controversy and integrating the
research results (Paradigm Adjudication Core). An Administrative
Core coordinates the various research activities. The data sets to be assembled, meticulously verified, published and
archived pertain to Sweden and the U.S. (Project 1), Danish twins
(Project 2), one million Mediterranean fruit flies raised under
stringently controlled conditions (Project 3), and 50,000
Drosophila in ten inbred lines (Project 4). These data sets have
been carefully chosen to supply the information on mortality rates
over age and time and within and across genotypes that is needed
to address the life-expectancy controversy. The data sets will be analyzed in the four projects by using
lifetable methods and by using parametric survival models estimated
by maximum likelihood methods. The analysis will focus on whether
there is a genetically-determined senescent component of the force
of mortality at older ages that can not be reduced by environmental
changes or medical advances. It is the hypothesized existence of
senescent mortality that is thought to limit human life expectancy. Some related research on oldest-old mortality is also proposed in
the four projects, including research on male/female differentials
and on the impact of debilitation vs. mortality selection.
Effective start/end date2/1/904/30/10


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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