Some scientists have converted the methylation of a human’s DNA into an estimate of age or even a prediction of life expectancy. Other animals, such as dogs, undergo DNA methylation. As dogs age, a common problem is hip dysplasia. This can lead to the need to use a wheelchair for paralyzed dogs. It is also known as paralyzed dog wheels or paralyzed dog cart.
I’m sure you’ve heard that each human year equals seven dog years. Is there any science behind this? Statistically small dogs live longer than large dogs. So how could this be an accurate calculation?
A more accurate way to turn human years into dog years
Researchers now have a more accurate calculation that is backed by science in humans. There is relatively new research on aging regarding methyl groups in specific DNA sequences. This can track the biological age of humans and how it can be affected by disease, poor lifestyle choices, and genetics.
DNA methylation patterns in Labrador Retrievers
A study was conducted on DNA methylation patterns in 104 Labrador Retrievers aged 4 to 16 years. At least in this breed of dog there was similarity to humans and age-related DNA methylation of certain genomic regions with high mutation rates. Similarities were observed between young dogs and young humans and also older dogs and older humans.
The research team used the rate of methylation changes in dogs to match the human epigenetic clock. The results were a more complex conversion than previously used. The old formula was to simply take your dog’s age and multiply it by 7. Now the researchers say you need to multiply your dog’s age by the natural logarithm times 16 and then add that number to 31.
Below are the formulas for both:
Human age = 7 (the age of your dog)
Human age = 16 ln (the age of your dog) +31
Ln = natural logarithm
The new formula means that a Labrador Retriever at 12 years old would be comparable to a human at 70 years old, which is the average life expectancy of a human. Dogs age faster as puppies than children, but then slow down based on the test. There is a Dog Aging Project open to all breeds, ages and sizes.
The study wants to see what interesting results can be seen in life expectancy between different breeds of dogs.