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Epigenetic Clocks

© Winnefeld and Lyko, Nature Reviews Bioengineering 2023

DNA methylation patterns allow robust predictions about the age of a tissue. This is achieved by epigenetic clocks, which are compound DNA methylation based biomarkers that can accurately predict the age of the sample donor. Interestingly, many disease-associated conditions, including cancer, are linked to epigenetic age acceleration, which means a higher observed or epigenetic age than expected or chronological age. Recent research has shown that epigenetic clocks are driven by clock modules, which are groups of individual methylation markers that co-vary with specific physiological or cellular factors. This modular structure allows the deconstruction of the clocks and the identification of the molecular mechanisms that make epigenetic clocks tick. The functional dissection of epigenetic clocks therefore a truly holistic approach towards understanding aging and the identification of new intervention points.


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