A scientific measure of dog years

Scientists Use Genetics to Develop Better Formula to Calculate Dog Age in “Human Years”

He said dogs are interesting to study because they live closely with humans, receive almost the same levels of health care, and have similar environmental and chemical exposures. According to the well-known "rule of paw", one dog year is the equivalent of 7 years. Further down the line, the researchers say, this new method could help test anti-ageing treatments, as well as giving us a better understanding of how pooches grow up and get older.

Inspired by his graduate student Tiny Wang and her love of dogs, Ideker and his research partners used the same methodologyy to measure aging in dogs. According to a statement, the study shows how dogs age at a much faster rate than humans earlier in their lives, and then track the molecular changes in the DNA of Labrador retrievers, and in particular "the changing patterns of methyl groups "in their genome. down after reaching maturity".

They chose to explore how dogs age to learn more about how genes change as people (and Labradors) get older.

The conventional wisdom for working out how old your dog is in human terms is to multiple the dog's age by seven - something experts have previously debunked.

"They age really rapidly as puppies compared to older canine adults", said Dr. Trey Ideker, professor of Genetics in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego and lead investigator of the study.

Writing in the medical journal Cell Systems, the study's authors claim that in a dog's first year of life, it ages the equivalent of roughly 30 human years.

Labrador
Scientists found one-year-old Labradors are similar to 30-year-old humans when it comes to epigenetic ageing

These are modifications that do not change the DNA sequence but can toggle genes on or off. Ideker considers these marks like wrinkles in the genome. "So she convinced me we should study dog aging in a comparative way".

Because these canines live so closely with humans, they encounter numerous same environmental exposures that humans do and about the same health care use.

After analysis, they were able to create a graph that can be used to match up your dog's age with the comparable human age.

"The epigenome translated seven weeks in dogs to nine months in humans, corresponding to the infant stage when deciduous teeth erupt in both puppies and babies", researchers wrote in a preprint of the study.

As part of the research, the scientists sequenced the genome of more than 100 Labrador Retrievers through blood samples, analysing the build-up of methyl groups.

"I have a six-year-old dog - she still runs with me, but I'm now realizing that she's not as "young" as I thought she was", Ideker said. "If you look at the methylation marks on those developmental genes, they're still changing". Different species may age in different ways.

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