Genetic signatures that may aid our understanding of why some people appear to be considerably younger or older than their chronological age have been discovered by scientists at the Salk Institute
The genetic patterns were revealed by analyzing skin cells from people of various ages, after which researchers then applied the results to detect genetic signs of accelerated aging in people with progeria, a disease that causes one to appear much older than his chronological age.
Saket Navlakha, a senior author of the study, said additional research could help detect when people are aging faster than their chronological age, which could be utilized to treat those at risk for age-related conditions or at least advise them to change lifestyle habits before diseases occur.
This process was performed on cells taken from 133 people, aged 1 to 94.
Placing the data into a machine learning algorithm resulted in patterns of gene activity that corresponded with increasing age. Using these bio-markers, the researchers were able to predict a person’s age with a median error of 4 years.
Researchers then applied the machine learning process to the genomes of 10 people with progeria, from ages 2 to 8, in order to test that the molecular signature was real and not merely an artifact or coincidence.
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