Clues in DNA could predict when people will die

A biological clock can help us understand people’s “biological age” — a measure of how old their body is

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There are clues in our DNA which could predict when we will die.

That’s according to what’s been termed as a “biological clock” discovered in DNA.


According to scientists in four independent studies tracking 5,000 people for up to 14 years, this clock can help us understand people’s “biological age” — a measure of how old their body is that seems to be able to predict when people are going to die.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, University of Queensland, Harvard University, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Boston University, the Johns Hopkins University Lieber Institute for Brain Development and the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Researchers have published their results in the journal Genome Biology.

"This new research increases our understanding of longevity and healthy ageing,” Professor Ian Deary, the study's principal investigator, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, was quoted as saying.

"It is exciting as it has identified a novel indicator of ageing, which improves the prediction of lifespan over and above the contribution of factors such as smoking, diabetes and cardiovascular disease."

The biological age was measured by looking at a chemical modification that happens to DNA, known as methylation, which plays an important role in biological processes, and can turn genes on and off.

According to the findings, people whose biological age showed them as older than their real age were more likely to die sooner.

“That still held true, even accounting for other factors like smoking and heart disease,” The Independent reported.

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