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Significance Individuals with more education tend to live longer. Genetic variants have been discovered that predict educational attainment. We tested whether a “polygenic score” based on these genetic variants could make predictions about people’s lifespan. We used data from three cohort studies (including >130,000 participants) to examine the link between offspring polygenic score for education and parental longevity. Across the studies, we found that participants with more education-linked genetic variants had longer-living parents; compared with those with the lowest genetic education scores, those with the highest scores had parents who lived on average 6 months longer. This finding suggests the hypothesis that part of the ultimate explanation for the extended longevity of better-educated people is an underlying, quantifiable, genetic propensity.

Original publication




Conference paper


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date





13366 - 13371