Calico teams with AncestryDNA to study why you live so long

Steven Loeb · July 22, 2015 · Short URL:

The companies will use AncestryDNA's databases and genetic samples to figure out genetic longevity

Calico, the company that was founded by Google in late 2013, and whose was to take on the aging process, has found a new partner.

The company has teamed up with AncestryDNA, a subsidiary, in order to find out more about the role that genetics play in heredity, specifically in how long a person lives, it was announced on Tuesday. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

The partnership will involve the use of AncestryDNA's databases, tools, and algorithms, through which data from millions of public family trees, as well its database of more than 1 million genetic samples, will be analyzed.

With that data, Calico will then focus its efforts to develop and commercialize any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis.

The ultimate goal of this partnership is to find out certain families live longer than others. 

“Our common experience suggests that there may be hereditary factors underlying longevity, but finding the genes responsible using standard techniques has proven elusive,” David Botstein, Calico’s Chief Scientific Officer, said in a statement. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to address a fundamental unanswered question in longevity research using high quality human pedigrees.”

This kind of reearch lines up with Calico's focus, which is on health and well-being, particularly when it comes to aging and diseases associated with that process.

Last year Calico teamed up with biopharmaceutical company AbbVie to create a $1.5 billion research facility dedicated to developing and testing anti-aging related drugs. 

AncestryDNA is a DNA testing service, which combines advanced DNA science with the's online family history resource to predict a person's genetic ethnicity and help them find new family connections. It does this by mapping ethnicity going back multiple generations.

Google's health research

Google has shown great interest in the healthtech space over the last few years, especially since CEO Larry Page revealed that he has been suffering problems with his vocal cords for years. 14 years ago his left vocal cord became paralyzed, a nerve problem that causes it to not move correctly, resulting in a weaker voice. His right vocal cord also eventually suffered the same condition, softening his voice even further. 

In fact, healthcare has been a big topic of concern for Google for a while now and many of its so-called "moonshot projects" have had to do with health and well being.

That includes a smart contact lens for monitoring diabetes, as well as something called Baseline Study, which will involve the collecting of genetic and molecular information from a group of people. It also bought Lift Labs, the creators of an electronic device that improves the quality of life for those with Parkinson’s and essential tremor, in September of 2013. 

Most recently the company partnered with Johnson & Johnson to create a new robotic-assisted surgical platform.

Calico, though, is its most expensive, far reaching and ambitious project in this space so far. 

(Image source:

Related News