The epigenetic clock allows to follow up aging in dogs, humans and probably other species during development

Accurate dog age to human age: Scientific basis

There is a new technology that can give a very accurate equivalence between the age of a dog and that of humans. You’ll be surprised it is not the usual 7-years-of-a-human for every 1-year-of-a dog.

The method was developed by geneticist Trey Ideker and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego. They focused on Labrador retriever dogs.

You can read the original article at:

What is this technology about?

The work is based on a relatively new concept in aging research: that chemical modifications to a person’s DNA over a lifetime create what is known as an epigenetic clock.

The epigenetic clock studies are based on how much the DNA of an individual is methylated.

Methyl group is made of carbon (C) and three hidrogen (H) atoms

DNA methylation is one of the common (and best studied) epigenetics mechanism. Epigenetics study the regulation of gene expression in the cell (remember: the function of genes is to code for the production of proteins). DNA methylation is the addition of methyl groups to DNA. Methylated genes will not transcribe that is to be read for protein synthesis.

Chromosomes are made of genes which are made of DNA. Methylated genes (M) will not be read by specialized enzymes for the cell to produce proteins). When a gene is methylated the specific protein it produces won’t be made (the gene is switch off)

So, methylated genes (remember genes are made of DNA) will be shut down while unmethylated genes will be turned on. Every cell in the body has specialized functions, so, those genes of the whole genome needed for a specialized function (like in a neuron or a muscle cell for instance) will be turned on while the rest will be turned off. The whole pattern of genes turned on or off in the cells in the body will provide a global profile that will indicate the age (or even the health status) of an individual.

So, the researchers used what they called the DNA methylation clock. (which in other words, is a biological clock).

This has many implications. For example, a person’s DNA methylation status can be translated to an age estimate—or even a prediction of life expectancy

(this would be scary for a person to know!).

What Ideker and his colleagues did was scanning DNA methylation patterns in the genomes of 104 dogs, ranging from 4 weeks to 16 years of age. They found that dogs (at least Labrador retrievers) and humans do have similar age-related methylation of certain regions in genes where mutations occur very often.

Surprisingly, they found young dogs and young humans had comparable epigenetic profiles similar to old dogs compared to old humans.

Most importantly, they found that certain groups of genes involved in development are similarly methylated during aging in dogs and in humans. At least some of these changes are evolutionarily conserved in mammals which means that this new biological clock can be applied to other mammalian species other than dogs (for example <cats>).

It will be very interesting to find more biologically and accurate <life spans data among different dog breeds> with this epigenetic clock technology. Or find out why some dogs develop disease at younger ages or die earlier than normal, whereas others live long, healthy lives.

In case you want to know, here is the new “epigenetic” formula to transform dog years into human years:

Dogs Age in human years = [16 * Ln (dog age in years)] + 31

Which is the natural logarithm of the dog’s real age, multiplied by 16, with 31 added to the total.

Here is a calculator (with the formula coded) to get a dogs age in human years:

We still do not have epigenetic data about the equivalence of cat to human years.

In <this article> there is a calculator to get a dog’s age in human years. On <this article> there is a calculator to get a dog’s age in human years.

So we already know a new more accurate way to know a dog’s age in human years, based on scientific and biological facts.

Were you amazed to know a 2-year-old dog is like a 42-years-old man or woman?

You may also find interesting:

How to cope with senior dogs: 9 answers for a better health and life quality

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *