DNA methylation as a predictor of biological age

Reliable indicators of biological age, rather than chronological age, have been investigated for several decades without much success. Recent studies indicate that epigenetic clock is a reliable predictor of biological age, given its strong correlation with mortality. Studies have identified that DNA methylation at certain age-related genes could capture aspects of biological age (methylation age) in Caucasian/Hispanic populations. However, no methylation age predictor exists specifically for the Chinese population.

Using whole blood genome-wide methylation data, Liming Liang’s group at Harvard’s School of Public Health developed a methylation age predictor with 239 CpG sites. These CpG sites showed high correlation between methylation age and chronological age. Liang’s predictor not only defines the difference between chronological and biological age, but also is able to identify rate of aging. This technology provides a novel opportunity to measure biological age with higher accuracy than existing methods in the Chinese population and has applications in epigenetic services, anti-aging, beauty industries.

A provisional application has been filed for this technology and is available for licensing. This technology is also available for collaborative and sponsored-research relationships.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending