Epigenetic’s looks at the changes in chromosomes that happen without modifying the DNA sequence itself and changing the position of any of the DNA base pairs.
A team of researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles, wanted to find out whether epigenetic could explain why premature ageing occurs and whether it can be used to work out biological age and predict someones lifespan.
The team found after using data from multiple previous studies that lifespan could be accurately predicted by calculating an individual’s biological age based on age-related changes in their human DNA. In order for this to be done more efficiently, Professor Horvath created an epigenetic clock that tracks methylation of DNA – this is a natural process that alters a persons phenotype (actual physical characteristics) without altering their genotype (genetic identity).
As said by the team…
“We were stunned to see that the epigenetic clock was able to predict the lifespans of Caucasians, Hispanics, and African-Americans.
This rang true even after adjusting for traditional risk factors like age, gender, smoking, body mass index, disease history, and blood cell counts.”
The team used this example: ‘if we compared two 60-year-old men who have stressful jobs and smoke; the first man has a top aging rate, the other is average. The likelihood of the first man dying in the next 10 years is 75 percent, whereas the latter of the two has just a 60 percent chance of dying in the next 10 years.’
Hopefully the results from this study can be used to potentially figure out a way to alter the epigenetic clock and investigate ways of changing the outcome.
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