Friday, 10 January 2014

Longevity trends from WikiTree

Its interesting to see genealogical databases used for academic research. Data Mining of Online Genealogy Datasets for Revealing Lifespan Patterns in Human Population reports one such study.

The authors, Michael Fire and Yuval Elovici, using more than 1 million profiles from WikiTree find generally small but significant correlations showing:
- the longer the parents' lifespan the longer the children's lifespan;
- the longer one spouse's lifespan the longer the other's;
- the more children a man has the longer his lifespan;
- the more children a woman has the shorter her lifespan;

While the correlations are significant the effect is small. "The influence of inherited lifespan is limited and, in fact, negligible after more than one generation. Alternately, the observed correlation could be
explained due to socioeconomic reasons: ancestors with long lifespan might also indicate a higher socioeconomic status, which can be passed on to their offspring."

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