Several teams of American researchers have identified gene patterns linked with extreme old age.
They have found a pattern of genes that predicts with more accuracy than ever before who might live to be 100 or older - even if they have other genes linked with disease.
They studied more than 1,000 people who lived to be 100 or more and matched them to 1,200 other people to identify the genetic patterns more common in the 100-year-olds using an approach called a genome-wide association study.
To their surprise, the longest-lived people had many of the same genes linked with diseases as everyone else. Their old-age genes appeared to cancel out the effects of the disease genes.
"A lot of people might ask, 'Well, who would want to live to 100 because they think they have every age-related disease under the sun and are on death's doorstep, and certainly have Alzheimer's', but this isn't true," Dr Perls told reporters in a telephone briefing.
"We have noted in previous work that 90% of centenarians are disability-free at the average age of 93. We had long hypothesised that to get to 100 you have to have a relative lack of disease-associated variants. But in this case, we're finding that not to be the case."
They identified 19 patterns among about 150 genes and said these patterns predicted with 77% accuracy who would be in the extreme old-age group, as reported by Reuters.
Their findings, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, offer the tantalising possibility of predicting who might hope for a longer life.
The researchers led by Paola Sebastiani and Dr Thomas Perls at Boston University say, their research provides the best accuracy.
They also cast doubt on the accuracy of tests being marketed now that offer to predict a person's risk of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's.
Mr Innokenty Osadchy, a 35-year-old investment banker in Moscow is ready to pay a small fortune to freeze his brain until future technology allows him to continue his life - after being transplanted into a new body and resuscitated.
He is certain he has found a loophole out of death.
"I don't ever want to die... It wouldn't suit me," he said .
"Why do I have to die in a couple decades? I don't see any logic in this,"
"It won't be another life, it'll be the continuation of my life. "I don't ever want to die ever. Not in a year, not in a million years." Mr Osadchy told AFP.
Mr Osadchy and other clients of Russian cryonics company KrioRus believe the brain operates like a computer hard-drive and its contents can be frozen and stored for the future.
Danila Medvedev (L) and KrioRus customer Innokenty Osadchy (R) looks inside a low-temperature human brain storage unit just outside Moscow. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
Head of Russian cryonics firm KrioRus Danila Medvedev looks inside a low-temperature human storage unit just outside Moscow. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
Ms Medvedev, a smart executive sporting a suit and an iPad said to AFP, "We tell our clients it's cheaper, safer and probably better preservation just to freeze the brain."
Head of Russian cryonics firm KrioRus Danila Medvedev looks inside a liquid nitrogen filled human storage unit just outside Moscow. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
***Should the American gene researchers work together with the Russian team, will these 'immortals' be staying in Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond...?