Scientists Use Your DNA as a Biological Clock to Determine Lifespan

Sad man embracing pillow, 
Hang in there. (Image: flickr/CC)
Sad man embracing pillow, Hang in there. (Image: flickr/CC)

An international team of scientists can compare your actual age to your biological age, a number worked out by measuring chemical changes to your DNA.

The difference between these two numbers can be used as a

DNA “clock” to estimate how long you will live.

“At present, it is not clear what lifestyle or genetic factors influence a person’s biological age. We have several follow-up projects planned to investigate this in detail,” said University of Edinburgh epidemiologist Riccardo Marioni, who worked on the study, in a press release.

In the research, a person’s biological age was determined by measuring the amount of chemical modification, known as methylation, that had occurred in their DNA – something that can be measured by biomarkers in the blood.

“This new research increases our understanding of longevity and healthy ageing,” said the study’s lead author, Ian Deary, in the release.

“It is exciting as it has identified a novel indicator of ageing, which improves the prediction of lifespan over and above the contribution of factors such as smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”

I’m not really sure I’d want to know until they know how I can extend my number.

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