"In this population, the environment plays very little roles. What they have is some genetic protection against the environment," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Ni Barzilai, a physician who heads Yeshiva's Institute for Aging Research.
"Our centenarians haven't been very special from the point of view of interacting with the environment," Dr. Barzilai said of his research. "They smoked, they exercised less than people within their control group. It looks like in this case the environment wasn't really very important to bringing those people to being 100 years old. It means the genes are more important."