An epigenetic aging clock for dogs and wolves

Michael J. Thompson, Bridgett Marie vonHoldt, Steve Horvath, Matteo Pellegrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1068
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


  • Biological age
  • Canine
  • DNA methylation
  • Dog
  • Epigenetic clock
  • Wolf

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    Thompson, M. J., vonHoldt, B. M., Horvath, S., & Pellegrini, M. (2017). An epigenetic aging clock for dogs and wolves. Aging, 9(3), 1055-1068.