Paul Hughes wrote:
> This brings up the question of how such selective breeding would be determined.
> How did they determine a persons longevity until they actually died? And once
> dead, how would you get them to breed without modern biotechnology? Unless of
> course this breeding program was started in the 20th century, and this story
> takes place several centuries hence.
> Paul Hughes
The breeding program was ctually started in the late 19th century AFAIR. A rich philantropistby the name of Ira Howard who knew he was going to die very youg directed his executors to take whatever actions they could think of to increase the average human life span. At the time the only "biosciences" they had to go on was animal husbandry, so, after a fashion, that's what they did.
At the beginning they used the prescence of 4 surviving grandparents at a certain age to determine inclusion. (They later used more advanced biotech as it became available. (I don't believe the universe this takes place in ever got around to doing a human genome project) They set up a foundation that just happened to pay out large sums of money to young people if they "just happened" to marry and procreate with certain other young people. No coercion at any point.
It worked like gangbusters, and by the mid 21st century the average lifespan of the group was up around 200. Members of this foundation came to refer to themselves as "The Howard Families". The combination of secrecy, long life, and multiple arranged marriages (serial polygamy) created a rather distinct culture. The not inconsiderable inbreeding among the group ended up creating human telepaths (who were usually mentally retarded).
Interestingly enough, the longest lived of the bunch, Lazarus Long, who lived for more then 5000 years (the first thousand of that without advanced rejuvenation technology) was only a 3rd generation Howard. Way to early for the breeding program to have given him the longevity he exhibited.