The Japanese are blessed with a genetic code that gives them ageless, unlined faces and life beyond the official longevity congrats note from Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II when you hit 100. In fact, they consistently rank in the top 10 of the World Health Organisation's life expectancy-by-country list. This anti-ageing and longevity has fascinated many a researcher looking to understand why the inevitable march of time effects some people and not others - like the Japanese - and what can be done to slow that clock down (hello booming anti-aging cosmetics industry).

According to a report in The Asahi Shimbun, a team of Japanese scientists at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, may have identified a gene that contributes to long life and slows the age train down to a steady, sedate pace. Previous research identified a gene called Apolipoprotein E, or APOE as one associated with long life and the new research indicates a gene called CLEC3B also contributes to the long game.

Forever young? Science has found the key

"The gene we identified recently is not the sole actor determining longevity," said Masashi Tanaka, chief of the Department of Clinical Laboratory at the Institute speaking to The Asahi Shimbun, "But we believe that it plays a role in anti-aging one way or another."  The study looked at the DNA of a group of Japanese subjects aged 95 and up and another group under 80. They also studied a group of Chinese people in the same age brackets for comparison. The research found the 95 plus Japanese group shared similar CLEC3B gene characteristics unique to their group. 

Although he was not involved in the project, Sumio Sugano a professor at the University of Tokyo, said to The Asahi Shimbun, "Detailed study of the function of the gene recently discovered may provide clues as to what factors affect living a healthy and long life." Hurry up science, we all want to be "forever young".

Forever young? Science has found the key