Researchers here report on an improved version of the epigenetic clock. A few carefully defined patterns of DNA methylation, including the original epigenetic clock, correlate quite closely with age. The current commercial implementation of the epigenetic clock, MyDNAge, has a margin of error of two years or so. While the consensus is that the clock reflects biological age, it is still the case that we might ask what exactly is being measured. The answer to that question remains to be established. It is plausible that DNA methylation changes with age are a reaction to all of the forms of cell and tissue damage that drive aging, but this is by no means certain – it could be more specific than that, tied to only some of the causes of aging.
One of the major goals of geroscience research is to define “biomarkers of aging“, which can be thought of as individual-level measures of aging that capture inter-individual differences in the timing of disease onset, functional decline, and death over the life course. While chronological age is arguably the strongest risk factor for aging-related death and disease, it is important to distinguish chronological time
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