Historically, when calculating the age of dogs, a ratio of 1: 7 was used, which means that one human year of life corresponds to about seven canine years. However, as studies have shown, this technique is not true.
A team of scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (UCSD), together with geneticists, have developed a new, more accurate method of "translating" canine years into human years using the rate of molecular changes in dogs' DNA. The object of research was blood samples taken from 105 Labradors aged from several weeks to 16 years.
Scientists have tried to uncover the patterns of changes in chemical markers in the DNA of dogs, due to age. Epigenetics has become an important tool in determining the physiological age of humans, and the UCSD team decided to use it for dogs. A blood test of 105 Labradors revealed the peculiarities of methylation changes, on the basis of which it was possible to draw up a more accurate picture of their physiological age.
The researchers compared the revealed patterns in dogs with human ones, as a result of which they came to the conclusion that the age relationships between them are far from linear: in dogs, rapid age-related changes occur at a young age, but then they slow down as they age.
The picture looks something like this: a one-year-old dog looks more like a person at the age of 30, but not a seven-year-old child. At the same time, a four-year-old dog is more consistent with the age of a 52-year-old person, but by the age of seven, the canine aging process slows down significantly.
According to scientists, the disadvantage of this particular study is that only one breed of dogs was involved in it, so they need to be continued.