Your pooch may participate in a significant “Dog Aging Project” that is now underway; they are seeking citizen scientists like you for the project.
How many human years old is your dog? And what elements support a dog’s long and healthy life?
It has long been believed that “dog years” are roughly equivalent to human years multiplied by seven, with a 1-year-old puppy comparable to a 7-year-old kid and an 11-year-old dog similar to a 77-year-old senior.
However, experts contend that it’s a lot more intricate.
While humans have defined measures for healthy ageing, nothing is known about “normal ageing” for our canine pals. This is part of the issue.
In “dog years,” small breeds may live to be 20 years old. being around five times as long as human years, whereas big dogs tend to age the fastest — maybe 10 times quicker than people.
The Dog Aging Effort, which was established in 2018, is by far the most significant project addressing the issue of canine longevity. It has enrolled and is researching tens of thousands of dogs of diverse breeds, sizes, and origins to get a comprehensive knowledge of canine ageing. Their open-source dataset will enable future investigation into healthy ageing in pooches and humans by providing scientists and doctors with the means to evaluate how well a given dog is ageing.
In a paper printed in the most recent edition of the magazine Nature, the researchers went into depth about their discovery and its potential effects on both human and veterinary medicine.
They will examine the DNA of ancient dogs, or the “super-centenarians” of the canine world, in one of their most fascinating lines of research.
Dog Aging Initiative researcher Joshua Akey said, “This is a huge, ambitious, radically multidisciplinary project that has enormous potential to serve the greater scientific community as a resource. Akey is a professor at Princeton’s Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. I think this initiative is intriguing since it will ultimately benefit human and pooch health.
Akey, a dog enthusiast with a 5-year-old rescue dog named Abby and a 1-year-old purebred lab named Zoey, collaborates with Elinor Karlsson to co-lead the Broad Institute’s genetic research.
Akey stated, “We are sequencing the genomes of 10,000 dogs. According to the author, this will be one of the complete genomic data sets ever gathered for dogs. It will be a fantastic resource for addressing more fundamental questions about the evolution and domestication of dogs and understanding the role of genetics in ageing.
The Dog Aging Project (DAP) plans to continue operating for at least ten years. The researchers refer to their canine citizen scientists as the “DAP Pack,” and more than 32,000 Pooches have enrolled thus far.
William Thistlethwaite, a doctoral student who works with Akey in the Lewis-Sigler Institute, said, “We are still recruiting dogs of all ages, all types — purebred or mixed breeds, all sizes, all around the United States.”
“Especially young canines up to 3 years old and pups.”
When a pooch joins the Pack, its owner consents to complete yearly questionnaires, record measurements for the length of the experiment, and, in some instances, gather cheek swabs for DNA testing. Additionally, the DAP team collaborates with vets around the nation who support by contributing samples of blood, urine, faeces, and hair from a few chosen Pack members.
The goal of the study is to locate particular canine ageing biomarkers.
They anticipate their research will affect human ageing for several reasons: Our dogs share our everyday environments, a crucial component of ageing that cannot be replicated in any laboratory setting, and veterinary treatment is akin to human healthcare in many ways. Dogs also experience almost every functional loss and ageing illness that people do.
Given that dogs have significantly shorter lives than people yet share the same environment as humans and have advanced healthcare systems they offer a unique opportunity to identify the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors associated with a healthy lifespan, according to Dr Daniel Promislow, Principal Investigator for the National Institute on Aging Grant at the University of Washington is a professor of biology.
To learn the mechanisms behind their extended life, the researchers are especially interested in studying the 300 oldest canines in the Pack.
“A super-centenarian’ research,’ comparing the DNA of unusually long-lived dogs to dogs who live to the typical age for their breed, is one component of the project that I am thrilled about,” said Akey, the Princeton geneticist. I believe this is an innovative method of searching for genetic variants that underpin exceptional lifespan. To the best of our understanding, this is the first study of its sort conducted on dogs.
The team intends to share its massive dataset with scientists worldwide within the next few months, totally anonymised.
Then, depending on their interests, researchers from various disciplines will have the chance to contribute to the study in countless ways.
Kate Creevy, the paper’s primary author and the chief veterinary officer of DAP, remarked that it was a pleasure to present their research to the scientific community. The Dog Aging Project is developing a tool that has the potential to revolutionise ageing research, veterinary care, and many other scientific and non-scientific fields of study.
Visit https://dogagingproject.org for more details or to find out how to sign up your dog for the ongoing project.
PS: The National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health, and private donations both finance the Dog Aging Project (grant U19AG057377).
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