As the death toll of victims to the corona virus outbreak rises, we are reminded that zoonotic diseases are increasing around the world.
New research is trying to map out how dogs age. The old thought that a dog's age can be roughly calculated by taking a human age times seven is not accurate anymore. It is more complex than that.
Work at the University of California San Diego is looking into epigenetic marks in canine DNA. Epigenetic marks are not genes, but turn on or off the gene expression. If DNA is like the alphabet then epigenetic marks are like the punctuations and accents. An example would be: TAG! GAT? Tissues have specific patterns of epigenetic modification.
The study of the particular epigenetic marks that are important to the aging process is called methylation. These epigenetic marks due change as we age, and as your dog ages. The research is telling us that these changes are predictable. Researchers have found that dogs age very quickly at first and then their aging drastically slows down. Dogs reach puberty around 10 months of age and die by 20 years of age. There is a gradual increase in methylation as dogs and humans age. This research project has come up with a new formula to help you understand your dog's age as it relates to you:
The new formula, which applies to dogs older than one, says that a canine’s human age roughly equals 16 in (dog age) + 31. (That’s the natural logarithm of the dog’s real age, multiplied by 16, with 31 added to the total.)