Long life. Little women.

New Scientist reports on geneticists who might have isolated the specific genes for longevity:

[T]he [Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University] team… identified the two gene mutations in centenarians of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Both mutations affect the receptor for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), a driver of bodily growth and maturity, especially during puberty. By making the receptor slightly faulty, the mutations may disrupt IGF1 binding and decelerate the process of maturation and ageing.

Similar mutations affect longevity in worms, flies, yeast and mice.

Apparently, the carriers are all women slightly shorter than average.