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Scientists have found a genetic mutation in the Amish people of the midwestern United States that appears to make them live 10 years longer than people without it, a study said Wednesday.

The report is the latest clue in a decade-plus search for the secrets to healthy aging in this traditional, Christian community that balks at most modern technology.

'This is the only kindred on the planet that has this mutation,' Dr Vaughan said.'It's a 'private mutation.'' The key protein at play in the aging of cells appears to be PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor,), which is influenced by SERPINE1.

On May 5, 2015, a caravan of 40 doctors, nurses, sonographers and other health care workers drove to Berne before dawn to set up 10 testing stations in a nearby community center.

Northwestern University researchers have partnered with Japan's Tohoku University to develop and test an experimental oral drug (called TM5614) that would inhibit the action of PAI-1, like in Amish people with the mutant gene.

The drug has passed basic safety trials and is now being tested in phase 2 trials in Japan on how well it works on insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Over the following two days, 177 Amish arrived by horse and buggy for testing, half on each day.

It took a full day for each person to go through all the testing stations that included: fasting blood samples, echocardiograms, systolic blood pressure testing, pulse wave velocity (a measure of stiffness of their large arteries), pulmonary function tests and urine samples.

Pictured are Amish people featured in the TV program 'Amish: A Secret Life' Researchers based at Northwestern University have found a genetic mutation in the Amish people of Berne, Indiana that appears to make them live 10 years longer than people without it.'It's a desirable form of longevity.'Researchers studied 177 members of the Berne Amish community in Indiana, and found 43 who had one mutant copy of the gene, SERPINE1.Amish people with this gene mutation were also significantly less likely to get diabetes, and had 30 per cent lower fasting insulin levels, and more efficient metabolisms.The Amish trace back their origins to the Protestant Reformation in Europe, where there was an emphasis on returning to the purity of the New Testament church.Amish girls play softball after class during an end of the school year celebration on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in Bergholz, Ohio.

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