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Einstein researcher helps lead consortium for $10 million 'X Prize' to sequence genomes of 100 centenarians
Date:10/26/2011

October 26, 2011 (BRONX, NY) Nir Barzilai, M.D., director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, will help lead a newly formed centenarian consortium for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco. The $10 million dollar incentivized prize competition, which was announced today, challenges teams of scientists and entrepreneurs to sequence the complete genomes of 100 healthy centenarians in 30 days. Intended to help usher in an era of personalized medicine and learn from the genetic advantages of the exceptionally long-lived, the competition tasks teams with delivering medical quality genome sequencing results for $1,000 per centenarian.

As one of the leaders of the centenarian consortium, Dr. Barzilai will help identify and collect the 100 centenarian genomes to be sequenced. Known as the Medco 100 Over 100, the genomes will be donated by 100 vital and independent individuals who are aged 100 or older and have participated in a centenarian study, like Dr. Barzilai's Longevity Genes Project. One of Dr. Barzilai's participants, 105-year old Irving Kahn who founded a successful New York City-based value investment firm and still works daily participated in today's X PRIZE announcement event.

Dr. Barzilai, who has been studying the healthy elderly since 1998, implicated several "longevity genes" in humans. His research on more than 500 centenarians of Ashkenazi Jewish descent established, among other findings, that the gene variant that leads to high HDL, or "good cholesterol," is linked to healthy aging and extreme longevity.

"Understanding the genetic makeup that protects these
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Contact: Kimberly Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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