According to a study, dogs do not simply age seven times faster than humans. Rather, young dogs appear to be biologically much older than the equivalent young human.
Researchers at the University of California studied– the addition of methyl groups to the that can change gene expression without changing the DNA sequence itself. patterns change with age and can be used to accurately predict biological age in humans.
The researchers studiedchanges in around 100 Labrador retrievers and compared these to the equivalent methylation changes that are known to occur in humans. They found that a one year old dog has methylation changes equivalent to those of a 30 year-old human, suggesting a dog’s may increase significantly faster at the start of its life before slowing down relative to human ageing.
This finding is interesting, as it demonstrates that while methylation changes may occur with age in many species, they don’t necessarily follow the same trajectory as each other.
Studying ageing in different species can provide important insights into human longevity, as it presents an opportunity to investigate the biological mechanisms that might distinguish a short-lived species from a long-lived one. Even species that are genetically very similar can have radically different lifespans, and understanding what causes this could help us extend longevity in humans.
Quantitative Translation of Dog-to-Human Aging by Conserved Remodeling of the DNA Methylome: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cels.2020.06.006
Every dog year not equivalent to seven human years, scientists find: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jul/02/every-human-year-not-equivalent-to-seven-dog-years-scientists-find?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Gmail
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