Scientists say they can predict whether a person can expect to live longer or die sooner than average, by looking at their DNA.
The team has analysed the combined effect of genetic variations that influence lifespan to produce a scoring system.
People who score in the top ten per cent of the population might expect to live up to five years longer than those who score in the lowest ten per cent, they say.
The findings also revealed fresh insights into diseases and the biological mechanisms involved in ageing, the researchers say.
Experts at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute looked at genetic data from more than half a million people alongside records of their parents’ lifespan.
Some 12 areas of the human genome were pinpointed as having a significant impact on lifespan, including five sites that have not been reported before.
Dr Peter Joshi, an AXA Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, said: “If we take 100 people at birth, or later, and use our lifespan score to divide them into ten groups, the top group will live five years longer than the bottom on average.”