Background: Association of mitochondrial haplogroup J with longevity has been reported in several population subgroups. While studies from northern Italy and Finland, have described a higher frequency of haplogroup J among centenarians in comparison to non-centenarian, several other studies could not replicate these results and suggested various explanations for the discrepancy. Methodology/Principal Findings: We have evaluated haplogroup frequencies among Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians using two different sets of matched controls. No difference was observed in the haplogroup J frequencies between the centenarians or either matched control group, despite adequate statistical power to detect such a difference. Furthermore, the lack of association was robust to population substructure in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Given this discrepancy with the previous reported associations in the northern Italian and the Finnish populations, we conducted re-analysis of these previously published data, which supported one of several possible explanations: i) inadequate matching of cases and controls; ii) inadequate adjustment for multiple comparison testing; iii) cryptic population stratification. Conclusions/Significance: There does not exist a universal association of mitochondrial haplogroup J with longevity across all population groups. Reported associations in specialized populations may reflect genetic or other interactions specific to those populations or else cryptic confounding influences, such as inadequate matching attributable to population substructure, which are of general relevance to all studies of the possible association of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups with common complex phenotypes.
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