DNA methylation-based biomarkers and the epigenetic clock theory of ageing

Steve Horvath, Kenneth Raj

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

918 Citations (Scopus)


Identifying and validating molecular targets of interventions that extend the human health span and lifespan has been difficult, as most clinical biomarkers are not sufficiently representative of the fundamental mechanisms of ageing to serve as their indicators. In a recent breakthrough, biomarkers of ageing based on DNA methylation data have enabled accurate age estimates for any tissue across the entire life course. These 'epigenetic clocks' link developmental and maintenance processes to biological ageing, giving rise to a unified theory of life course. Epigenetic biomarkers may help to address long-standing questions in many fields, including the central question: Why do we age?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-384
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

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© 2018 Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


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