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uchenye nngu nauchilis opredelyat skorost stareniya zhitelej krajnego severa

One of the world's first studies of the negative climate impact on life expectancy with the participation of the indigenous population of Yakutia was performed by scientists from Lobachevsky University, North-Eastern Federal University, and the Ufa Federal Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The Far North regions and those considered equivalent to them occupy about 70% of the total territory of the Russian Federation. The difference between summer and winter temperatures there can reach 80 degrees Celsius, with summer normal temperatures of +30°C  and winter temperatures of -50°C. Taking into account the active development of these territories, it is particularly important to assess the risks of working in extreme climatic conditions.

Scientists have found out that due to long-term adaptation to extreme climatic conditions, Yakuts are biologically 3-4 years older than residents of the European part of Russia.

"We measured the aging rate of Yakutia residents using eight epigenetic clock models. Epigenetic variations were found in genes responsible for adaptation to cold, metabolism and aging processes. The organism of Yakuts produces the necessary energy faster due to the metabolic rate and cell cycle, but apparently, the biological price of such adaptation is accelerated aging," said the author of the study Mikhail Ivanchenko, Deputy Director of the Institute of Healthy Aging at Lobachevsky University.

"Adaptive restructuring in indigenous Yakuts testified to the strain of all body systems. In some cases, the adaptive resources of a person were exhausted already by the age of 45. New data obtained from epigenetic studies enhance our knowledge of molecular mechanisms of adaptation and open new opportunities for developing measures to improve the quality of life and preserve active longevity in the Far North," explained Raisa Zakharova, Head of the Research Centre of the Medical Institute at the North-Eastern Federal University.

Currently, Nizhny Novgorod researchers are assessing the epigenetic age of company employees who came to Yakutia from the European part of Russia. By comparing the biomarkers of newcomers and the indigenous population, the scientists plan to develop a system of early diagnosis and correction of accelerated aging of the organism to be used in occupational medicine of Far North enterprises. The new study will show how well an individual can adapt to the harsh climate.

"Now we know which genes are associated with accelerated aging in extreme climates, and we can also estimate the aging rate in residents who have recently arrived. If it is higher than average, this is a reason to have an in-depth medical examination and possibly return to a more familiar climate zone," Mikhail Ivanchenko noted.

"Studying the influence of climate on life expectancy is important not only for the people of Yakutia, but also for other ethnic groups living in different climatic conditions. This will make it possible to find genes responsible for adaptation and life duration of the population in different regions of Russia," said Elza Khusnutdinova, Director of the Institute of Biochemistry and Genetics at the Ufa Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The study was carried out as part of the Priority 2030 federal programme. The results were published in the international scientific journal Clinical Epigenetics.