Since we are born, there has been one question that puzzles in our mind; “When will I die?” Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, working with scientists in the US and Australia, think that they have the answer to the age-old question. They say that they have discovered a biological clock present in the DNA that can be used to determine one’s lifespan.
Scientists said that DNA methylation (a chemical modification of DNA that takes place during DNA replication) occurs repeatedly in one’s life that can be used to determine individual’s age. To predict the age researchers compared the individual’s actual age with their predicted biological age. While analysing the data obtained by comparison researchers found that the persons whose biological age was greater than their true age were more likely to die early than those whose actual age and biological age were the same. Scientists also accounted on factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are believed to affect age, and found that faster running biological clock was related to early death.
The finding was confirmed by four different studies held at distinct locations constituting of nearly 5000 old people that were tracked for 14 years. “The same results in four studies indicated a link between the biological clock and deaths from all causes,” said Dr Riccardo Marioni of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing
“This new research increases our understanding of longevity and healthy ageing. It is exciting as it has identified a novel indicator of ageing, which improves the prediction of lifespan over and above the contribution of factors such as smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” said Professor Ian Deary Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh.
According to WHO, on an average a girl lives for 73 years whereas a boy survives for 68 years.
So don’t just blindly go to astrologers or tarot card readers who guess age on unscientific grounds. Scientists finally have the answer for “When will I die?”
The study was published in the journal Genome Biology.