We pursued genome sequencing of a healthy aging cohort – the Wellderly – to understand the genetics of disease-free aging without medical intervention. We found healthy aging is not associated with known longevity variants but is associated with reduced genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer and coronary artery disease. Additionally, healthy aging is not associated with a decreased rate of rare pathogenic variants, potentially indicating the presence of disease-resistance factors. In keeping with this possibility, we identify suggestive common and rare variant genetic associations implying that protection against cognitive decline is a genetic component of healthy aging. Thus, healthy aging is associated with a genetic profile which suggests both reduced genetic risk of and genetic resistance to disease.
Meet the Wellderly: