Lonesome George’s Dynamic DNA Reveals the Secrets of His Longevity

When Lonesome George died at the age of 102 he was considered the rarest animal on Earth. He was the last known member of his species, the Chelonoidis abingdonii — a giant tortoise native to Pinta Island, a remote fraction of the Galápagos Islands. When his caretaker of 40 years found him dead in 2012, George had died of natural causes. So what about George allowed him to live significantly longer than the average American?
Scientists explored the secrets of George’s longevity in a study published Monday in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Genetic analysis of George’s DNA, along with the DNA taken from other giant tortoises, revealed that his genetic code contained variants linked to DNA repair, cancer suppression, and a powerful immune response.