Effects of Paternal and Maternal Longevity on Mortality Trajectories in Human Offspring

Leonid A. Gavrilov, University of Chicago

Positive effects of paternal and maternal longevity on offspring’s lifespan are well established. However little is known about effects of parental longevity on the shape of offspring’s mortality trajectories. To address this problem, we studied familial transmission of human lifespan from parents to offspring using particularly reliable and complete data on European royal and noble families for extinct birth cohorts (born 1800-1880). Mortality of four categories of offspring was analyzed: (1) having long-lived parents (both parents lived 80 years or more); (2) having short-lived parents; (3) having long-lived father and (4) having long-lived mother. Mortality in all groups of offspring demonstrates a convergence at older ages for both sexes. Although children of long-lived parents have lower mortality at younger ages, their actuarial aging rate is consistently higher compared to the children of short-lived parents. Thus, the familial advantage in lifespan practically disappears at ages over 100.

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Presented in Poster Session 5