An epigenetic aging clock for dogs and wolves

Aging (Albany NY). 2017 Mar 28;9(3):1055-1068. doi: 10.18632/aging.101211.


Several articles describe highly accurate age estimation methods based on human DNA-methylation data. It is not yet known whether similar epigenetic aging clocks can be developed based on blood methylation data from canids. Using Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing, we assessed blood DNA-methylation data from 46 domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) and 62 wild gray wolves (C. lupus). By regressing chronological dog age on the resulting CpGs, we defined highly accurate multivariate age estimators for dogs (based on 41 CpGs), wolves (67 CpGs), and both combined (115 CpGs). Age related DNA methylation changes in canids implicate similar gene ontology categories as those observed in humans suggesting an evolutionarily conserved mechanism underlying age-related DNA methylation in mammals.

Keywords: DNA methylation; biological age; canine; dog; epigenetic clock; wolf.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Wolves / genetics*