The original epigenetic clock is a measure of age, a weighted algorithmic combination of specific DNA methylation sites on the genome. Numerous variations on this theme are being produced, and here I’ll point out news on the latest, a metric called GrimAge. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that steers protein production and thus cell behavior. Epigenetic clocks correlate well with chronological age, and it has been shown that populations of older individuals with pronounced age-related disease or otherwise exhibiting higher mortality rates tend to have higher epigenetic ages.
There are some problematic exceptions, groups expected to show higher epigenetic age, but who do not, but researchers are nonetheless forging ahead to try to turn this tool into a robust method of assessing the burden of cell and tissue damage that causes aging. If one or more clock variants can be made robust enough, the variations understood and linked to specific causes and dysfunctions of aging, then these epigenetic clocks offer the possibility of greatly accelerating the development of rejuvenation therapies.
At present the only robust way of demonstrating that a therapy does in fact turn back aging, and measuring the degree
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