If you've ever had a pet, you might be interested to know how many years your pet could be in human terms at one time or another in your life. It is known that the average life expectancy of a dog is between 6 and 7 years and between 17 and 18 depending on the breed and size. How many years can these numbers be if they are converted to human age? To help you focus on your pet's age, a research team at the University of California has developed a special formula based on DNA changes over time.
How can you tell how old the dog is?
Both humans and dogs have an unpleasant quality – they age. Over time, our DNA adds to specific methyl groups that alter the activity of certain segments of the deoxyribonucleic acid without altering the DNA itself. In this knowledge, the team of scientists decided to study the processes of epigenetic mechanism or age-related changes that occur in every living thing on the planet, using the so-called methylation method.
Despite the fact that the life expectancy of dogs of different breeds varies greatly, all have a similar path of development through the normal life stages of each organism. According to the portal sciencealert.com, the researchers used a blood test of dogs from the Labrador Retriever breed to conduct an unusual experiment. The data obtained were compared with blood methylation profiles of 320 persons aged one to 103 years and blood values of 133 mice.
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By comparing the methylomes of dogs with those of humans, scientists were able to derive a formula for calculating the "human" age of the animal:
Age of the person = 16ln (age of the dog) + 31.
If you multiply the natural logarithm of the pet's age in years by 16 and then add 31, you can get the exact number that indicates your dog's "human years".
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Using the formula, the researchers were able to prove that the seven-week age in dogs in humans corresponds to nine months – the time when milk teeth break out in humans and puppies. At the same time, the age of a 12-year-old dog is approximately the same as the age of a 70-year-old person. Due to the fact that dog breeds and age are different, we will most likely never find a universal approach to determining the age of an animal. However, a formula based on the use of the epigenetic clock of the body may in any case even suggest an approximate result.