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Journal of Applied Genetics 50(3), 2009, pp. 261-273

Cytogenetic perspective of ageing and longevity in men and women

E. Zietkiewicz, A. Wojda, M. Witt

Abstract: Analysis of relationships between the ageing cell phenotype and the age of cell donors is one of the ways towards understanding the link between cellular and organismal ageing. Cytogenetically, ageing is associated with a number of gross cellular changes, including altered size and morphology, genomic instability, and changes in expression and proliferation. Genomic instability can be easily assessed by analyzing the level of cytogenetic aberrations. In this review, we focus on the differences in the level and profile of cytogenetic aberrations observed in donors of different age and gender. Centenarians are a small fraction of the population at the extreme of human longevity. Their inclusion in such studies may shed light on one of the basic questions: whether genome stability is better maintained in successfully aged individuals compared to the rest of the population. At the same time, comparing the profile of age-related amount of chromosomal aberrations in men and women may help explaining the commonly observed gender differences in longevity

Key words: aneuploidy, centenarians, chromosomal aberrations, DNA damage, gender, genomic instability, lymphocyte, micronuclei, nondisjunction.

Correspondence: E. Zietkiewicz, Institute of Human Genetics, Strzeszynska 32, 60-479 Poznan, Poland; e-mail:

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