A new study, conducted by researchers at King’s College London, has identified a group of ‘ageing’ genes that influence the rate of healthy aging and longevity. These genes are switched on and off by natural mechanisms called epigenetic factors,
Epigenetic processes – caused by external factors such as diet, lifestyle and environment – seem to be initiated from an early age and continue through a person’s life. Epigenetic changes are being mooted as potential “markers” of biological aging, making them targets for future antiaging treatments.
Epigenome-wide association scans were done to analyse changes related to chronological age. 490 age related epigenetic changes were identified. Analysis of DNA modifications in age related traits also lead to the discover of epigenetic changes in four genes relate to cholesterol, lung function and maternal longevity.
Many age related epigenetic changes happen naturally with age throughout life, including some that are initiated early in life. The four changes that to impact the rate of healthy aging and potential longevity are targeted as the potential markers of aging.